Skip to main content

Full text of "Vermont in the civil war : a history of the part taken by the Vermont soldiers and sailors in the war for the union, 1861-5"

See other formats

Robert Williamson Brokaw 








o<>' /e ' 







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1886, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives : That the Gov- 
ernor is hereby authorized and instructed to appoint a suitable person as 
State Historian, whose duty shall be, in a reasonable time, to collect and 
compile, ready for publication, a History of the part taken by the Vermont 
soldiers and sailors in the War of the Rebellion : Provided, such persons 
as shall, upon application of said historian, furnish him with items of 
history, memoranda or dates, shall do so free of charge. 


The State of Vermont delayed too long to make provision 
for a history of the part taken by her troops in the great civil 
war. During the years thus lost, the grave closed over many 
who helped to make the history and who could have furnished 
valuable information to the historian. When, at last, the 
legislature acted on the subject, the labor of preparing the 
history was committed to one whose other exacting duties 
might well have excused him from this task. The work of 
preparation was then suspended for two years in consequence 
of a defect in the legislation upon the subject. It has been 
further delayed by the unfortunate provision forbidding any 
outlay from the State treasury for information and historical 
materials, and by prolonged delays (and some absolute fail- 
ures) to contribute indispensable information, on the part of 
many of those best qualified to furnish facts and describe 
events. As a class, it must be said, the Yermont soldiers 
have not been eager to recite their deeds. This fact was 
noticeable during the war, especially so far as the members of 
the First Brigade were concerned ; and their reluctance to 
tell their own story seems not to have lessened much as 
time has gone on. Some, however, have rendered important 
aid to the historian. My acknowledgments are especially 
due to Colonel William C. Holbrook of the Seventh regi- 
ment, Captain George N. Carpenter and Herbert E. Hill 
of the Eighth, Captain Charles F. Branch of the Ninth, 
Lieut. Colonel Aldace F. Walker of the Eleventh ; Captain 
H. K. Ide of the First Vermont cavalry and Lieut. Colonel 
W. Y. W. Kipley of the First U. S. Sharpshooters, for their 



laborious and valuable contributions. Others have aided in 
other ways or in less degree. The regimental history of the 
Tenth Yermont by Chaplain Haynes and Walker's spirited 
history of the Vermont brigade in the Shenandoah Valley 
have been freely drawn on. Adjutant General Peter T. 
Washburn's War Keports have of course been a mine of in- 
dispensable facts and statistics. To Colonel Eobert N. Scott,. 
TJ. S. A., in charge of the exhaustive compilation of the 
Official Eecords of the civil war ; to Major Merritt Barber, 
Assistant Adjutant General, U. S. A., and to Adjutant General 
T. S. Peck of Vermont, my thanks are due for valuable assist- 
ance and numerous official courtesies. 

The materials thus obtained have been supplemented by 
various special contributions, relating to particular battles or 
events ; by personal recollections ; diaries of soldiers in the 
field ; army letters to friends ; and war correspondence in 
the newspapers. No available source of information has 
been intentionally neglected, and to the knowledge thus 
obtained I have added considerable study of the official 
reports and records of both the Union and Confederate 
armies, and of the works of historians on both sides. 

The task assigned to me, was not to make an entertain- 
ing description of war scenes and army life ; but to record 
facts. The space occupied by the records of the service of 
twenty-four different organizations of infantry, cavalry, artil- 
lery and sharpshooters, comprising over thirty thousand men, 
has largely forbidden extended descriptions, and compelled 
the omission of many interesting personal incidents. But it 
will be found, I trust, that the essential facts have been given. 
I have endeavored, throughout, to sift fact from fancy, and 
from the numerous and inevitable contradictions in the 
recollections and testimony of even honest witnesses, to 
separate the important from the trivial ; and to set down 
the noble record of the Vermont troops in such connection 
with the general history of the campaigns in which they were 


engaged, as to show what they accomplished and the relation 
of their service to that of the larger organizations to which 
they belonged. Few will understand the amount of labor 
expended in the work ; but I may be permitted to express 
the hope that many will recognize the controlling desire 
of the historian to do justice to all, within the limits im- 
posed, and to be everywhere truthful and impartial. 

G. G. B. 




North and South on the eve of War The Early Days of 1861 Reluctance 
of the Vermonters to believe in the possibility of War Governor Fair- 
banks's Apprehensions A Warning from Governor Andrews Salutes 
to the Union Governor Fairbanks Pledges the Support of Vermont to 
the Government 4 


The State Unprepared for War Decadence of the Militia Efforts to 
Revive the Militia in 1856 The Brandon and Montpelier Musters of 
1858 and 1860 The Militia in 1860 Military Property of the State, 
January, 1861 Secession Movements Judge Smalley's Charge to a 
New York Grand Jury Senator Collamer's Bill to Close Southern 
Ports Attitude of Representatives of Vermont in Congress Prepara- 
tions for War General Order No. 10 The Peace Conference Acces- 
sion of Abraham Lincoln 8 


The Call to Arms The Governor's First War Proclamation Detail of 
Militia for the First Regiment Procurement of Arms A Notable War 
Meeting Popular Feeling in the State Special Session of the Legis- 
latureAppropriation of a Million Dollars Other War Measures 
Unanimity of Legislature and People 17 


Organization of the First Regiment Sketches of the Field Officers Camp 
Fairbanks Delays in Mustering in Off at last for the War General 
Scott's Opinion of the Vermonters Reception at Troy and in New York 
Voyage to Fortress Monroe Quarters in the Hygeia Hotel Expe- 
dition to Hampton Occupation of Newport News 28 


Organization of the Second Regiment Sketches of its Field and Staff 
Departure for the War Receptions on the Way Arrival in Washing- 
ton Movement into Virginia Brigaded under Colonel Howard 
Campaign and Battle of Bull Run List of Killed and Wounded Part 
Taken by other Vermonters Return to Bush Hill Disaffection 
towards Colonel Whiting A Case of Discipline Removal to Camp 
Lyon 62 



The Second Regiment continued Controversy between Colonel Whiting 
and the State Authorities The Peninsula Campaign Promotions and 
Changes of Officers The Seven Days' Retreat Maryland Campaign 
of 1862 First Fredericksburg Resignation of Colonel Whiting 
Sketch of Colonel Walbridge Second Fredericksburg and Salem 
Heights Second Maryland Campaign A Month in New York Re- 
turn to Virginia Capture of Quartermaster Stone Execution of 
Deserters Winter at Brandy Station Resignation of Colonel Wai- 
bridge Sketch of Colonel Stone The Wilderness Campaign Death 
of Colonels Stone and Tyler Losses of Officers and Men End 
of Three Years' Term General Neill's Farewell Order In the 
Shenandoah Valley Back to Petersburg Final Campaign Return 
Home. 98 


Organization of the Third Regiment Rendezvous at St. Johnsbury 
Departure from the State Arrival at Washington Sketch of Colonel 
William F. Smith Changes Among the Officers Fatigue Duty in 
Virginia Pardon of William Scott Under Fire at Lewinsville Ar- 
rival of other Vermont Regiments Sickness in the Regiment The 
Peninsular Campaign Action at Lee's Mill List of Killed The Seven 
Days' Retreat The Drummer-boy, Willie Johnson First Fredericks- 
burg Resignation of Colonel Hyde Changes in the Roster Marye's 
Heights and Banks's Ford Service at Newark, N. J. Winter at 
Brandy Station Losses in the Wilderness Campaign Skirmish at Fort 
Stevens End of Three Years' Term Shenandoah Campaign Peters- 
burgReturn Home 126 


Organization of the Fourth Regiment Its Field and Staff Camp Hoi- 
brook Delays in Equipment Journey to Washington Arrival at 
Camp Advance Brigaded at Camp Griffin Remarkable Period of 
Sickness The Spring Campaign of 1862 March to Cloud's Mills The 
Peninsula Action and Losses at Lee's Mill Service at Williamsburg 
and in front of Richmond Crampton's Gap and Antietam Arrival of 
Recruits Promotion of Colonel Stoughton and Changes of Officers- 
First Fredericksburg Winter Quarters at Belle Plain Marye's Heights 
and Banks's Ford March to Gettysburg Casualties at Funkstown 
Winter at Brandy Station Losses in the Wilderness and tho Overland 
Campaign Misfortune at the Weldon Railroad Action at Charlestown 
Expiration of Three Years' Term The Shenandoah Campaign In 
the Lines of Petersburg The Final Assault Last Marching and Re- 
turn Home 



Organization of the Fifth Regiment Rendezvous at St. Albans Field and 
Staff Departure for Washington March to Chain Bridge Sickness 
at Cauip Griffin The Spring Campaign of '62 Lee's Mill Golding's 
Farm Hard Fighting and Terrible Loss at Savage's Station Resigna- 
tion of Colonel Smalley and Changes of Field Officers The Maryland 
Campaign Back to Virginia First Fredericksburg Marye's Height 
and Banks's Ford Crossing the Rappahannock and Capturing Missis- 
sippians Funkstown Rappahannock Station Re-enlisting for the 
War Furlough and Visit to Vermont Losses in the Wilderness and 
in the Lines of Spottsylvania Death and Sketch of Major Dudley 
Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Charlestown Expiration of Three Years* 
Term The Shenandoah Campaign Final Assault at Petersburg End 
of Fighting and Return Home 180 


Organization of the Sixth Regiment Departure for Washington Sickness 
and Mortality at Camp Griffin The Spring of 1863 The Sixth at 
Lee's Mill, Golding's Farm and Savage's Station Sickness at Har- 
rison's Landing Crampton's Gap and Antietam Changes of Field 
Officers Winter of 1862-3 Fighting at Fredericksburg Funkstown 
Service in New York Winter at Brandy Station Losses in the Wil- 
derness Death and Sketch of Colonel Barney Personal Incidents The 
Shenandoah Campaign Expiration of Three Years' Term Service in 
front of Petersburg Final Marches and Return Home 208 


Organization of the First Vermont Brigade Its first Commander, General 
Brooks Winter at Camp Griffin Remarkable period of Sickness 
Opening of the Spring Campaign of 1862 Movement to Fortress Mon- 
roe The March up the Peninsula Baptism of Blood at Lee's Mill 
Care of the Wounded The Battle of Williamsburg March to the 
White House on the Pamunkey 235 


The First Brigade, continued Organization of the Sixth Corps Move- 
ment to the Front of Richmond Battle of Fair Oaks Crossing the 
Chickahominy Swamp Fever and Hard Duty Gaines's Mill and 
Golding's Farm The Retreat from Richmond Stand of the rear 
Guard at Savage's Station Fighting of the Vermont Brigade The 
Fifth sustains the heaviest loss in killed and wounded ever suffered by 
a Vermont regiment Casualties of the Brigade The retreat resumed 
Affair at White Oak Swamp Terrific Confederate cannonade Firm- 
ness of the Vermont troops The brigade at Malvern Hill Terrible 
march to Harrison's Landing Bivouac in the mud Return to Fortress 
Monroe and to Alexandria. . 276 



The First Brigade, continued The situation, September 1, 1862 The part 
of the Sixth corps in Pope's Campaign The march into Maryland 
Storming of Crampton's Gap Brilliant action of the Fourth Vermont 
The battle of Antietam A quiet time at Hagerstown Stuart's second 
raid Accession of the Twenty-Sixth New Jersey to the brigade Re- 
tirement of General Brooks from the command Return to Virginia 
Changes of army, corps, division and brigade commanders McClel- 
lan's farewell review March to the Rappahannock Burnside's bloody 
failure Howe's division and the Vermont brigade at the First Fred- 
ericksburg Casualties of the brigade Winter quarters at White 
Oak Church Burnside's mud campaign and retirement from com- 
mand 315 


The First brigade, continued General Hooker in command of the army 
Sedgwick succeeds Smith as commander of the Sixth corps The new 
brigade commander, Colonel Grant The Chancellorsville campaign 
The Sixth corps crosses the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg Storm- 
ing of Marye's Heights Brilliant part of the Vermont brigade Salem 
Heights and Bank's Ford Details of the fighting of the Vermonters 
The brigade covers the recrossing of the Sixth corps Losses of the 
Vermont troops Return to White Oak Church 350 


The First brigade, continued Preliminary movements of the Gettysburg 
campaign The Fifth Vermont crosses the Rappahannock and captures 
the Confederate pickets The rest of the brigade follows Sharp skir- 
mishing on the south bank The march to the north Meeting of the 
First and Second Vermont brigades Hard marching in Maryland 
"Put the Vermonters ahead and keep the column closed up." General 
Meade succeeds Hooker Arrival on the field of Gettysburg Engage- 
ment at Funkstown Recrossing the Potomac The brigade goes to 
New York city to sustain the drafts Return to and reception by 
the Sixth corps Marching and counter marching Battle of Rap- 
pahannock Station The Mine Run campaign Winter at Brandy 
Station 379 


The First brigade, continued General U. S. Grant, Commander-in-Chief 
Consolidation of the corps Getty takes command of the division 
Changes in the brigade Review of he situation Campaign of the 
Wilderness The service of Getty's division The part of the Vermont 
brigade Terrific fighting A thousand Vermonters killed and wounded 


the first day ; two hundred the second day Heavy losses of officers 
March to Spottsylvania The Yermonters cheered by the Sixth corps- 
Death of General Sedgwick General Wright succeeds to command of 
corps Fighting in the lines of Spottsylvania Charge on the Salient 
The struggle at the Bloody Angle Losses of the Vermont regiments 
The Eleventh regiment joins the brigade Picket duty between the lines 
Movement to the North Anna March to Cold Harbor. ... 412 


The First brigade, continued Cold Harbor Part taken by the brigade the 
first day Assault of the second day Gallant part of Stannard's brigade 
Unsuccessful attack of the third day The army in trenches Expos- 
ures and sufferings of the troops Movement of the army to the James 
Investment of Petersburg Movement of the Sixth and Second corps 
against the Weldon Railroad Heavy loss of the brigade Over 400 
Vermonters captured Over half of them die in rebel prisons Expedi- 
tion against the Danville and Lynchburg Railroad Back again to 
Washington Early's raid Th6 Sixth corps sent to meet him Presi- 
dent Lincoln wants to see the Vermont brigade Engagement in front 
of Fort Stevens Hard marching in Maryland and Virginia First 
sight of the Shenandoah Valley Return to Washington A hot day at 
Harper's Ferry and march to Frederick, Md. Results of Halleck's 
strategy in chasing cavalry with infantry Change of commanders 
Sketch of General Sheridan Return of the Sixth corps to the 
Valley 461 


The First Brigade, continued Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley 
Strength and situation of the opposing armies Movement to the South 
Early reinforced Sheridan retires down the Valley Engagement at 
Charlestown The Vermont brigade holds the skirmish line against a 
Confederate division Casualties in the V* miont regiments Recon- 
noissance to Gilbert's Ford Visit from Gene al Grant The battle of 
the Opequon Part of the Vermont brigade The grand charge upon 
Winchester Losses of the brigade Battle of Fisher's Hill Colonel 
Warner carries Flint's Hill Crook's flank mov< ment Charge of Getty's 
and Ricketts's divisions, and flight of Early Thr-'e weeks of marching 
and mano3uvring The Sixth corps starts for Washington but returns 
to Cedar Creek Battle of Cedar Creek The surprise in the morning 
Gallant stand of Colonel Thomas and the Eighth Vermont Action of 
the Tenth Vermont The part of Getty's division and the Vermont 
brigade Arrival of Sheridan The grand advance of the Sixth and 
Nineteenth corps, and final charge of the cavalry Casualties of the 
Vermont brigade Close of the campaign Voting for President A 
month of rest at Kernstown Departure from the Valley. . . . 500 



The First Brigade, concluded Return to Petersburg The Winter of 
1864-5 in the Trenches Capture of the Enemy's Intrenched Picket 
Line by the Sixth Corps Action and Casualties of the Vermont Brigade 
Arduous Picket Duty The Final Grand Assault The Vermont 
Brigade heads the Entering Wedge of the Sixth Corps The Vermonters 
storm the Works in their Front, capture Nineteen Guns and Many 
Prisoners, and push in to Lee's Headquarters The Sixth corps takes 
Three miles of Works Casualties of the Vermont Regiments Fall of 
Richmond and Closing Scenes of the War Pursuit of Lee Last Skir- 
mish at Sailor's Creek The Surrender at Appomattox Last Marches 
and Reviews of the Brigade General Grant's Farewell Address The 
Final Muster Out 569 


Final Statement of the First Brigade Some suggestive statistics Testi 
mony of its commanders to the quality of the troops of the Brigade. 
End of Vol. 1 617 



ADJT. GENEEAL P. T. WASHBUEN Opposite page 28 






Sketch of battlefield of Big Bethel Opposite page 52 

Sketch of the First Bull Run page 73 

Map of the line of the Warwick River Opposite page 243 

Map of the Peninsula " "280 

Sketch of battlefield of Savage's Station page 294 

Sketch of battlefield of Crampton's Gap "321 

Battlefield of the First Fredericksburg Opposite page 338 

Battlefield of Marye's and Salem Heights ..--. " "368 

Battlefield of the Wilderness " "417 

Battlefield of the Opequon " "512 

Battlefields of Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek " "544 

Battlefield of Petersburg, April 2d, '65 . " " 600 


The story of the part taken by Vermont in the great 
civil strife of 1861-5, if it can be fully and fairly told, will 
need little garnish for its facts, in order to command atten- 
tion and respect. It is the war record of a small and rural 
commonwealth, heavily drained of its able-bodied men oy 
emigration, without large towns or floating population, and 
having thus much less than the average proportion of the 
material out of which modern armies are made but which 
nevertheless sent to the war ten men for every one hundred 
of its population, and out of a total enrollment of thirty- 
seven thousand men liable to do military duty, stood credited 
at last with nearly thirty-four thousand volunteers. The 
Vermonters were eminently men of peace; but they won 
honorable distinction as soldiers. The history of the war 
cannot be written without frequent and honorable mention 
of them. A Vermont regiment was the first to throw up the 
sacred soil of Virginia into Union intrenchments. Vermont 
troops made the first assault upon a Confederate fortification. 
In almost every great battle fought in the succeeding years 
by the Army of the Potomac, Vermonters took an honorable 
part. In the turning point of the turning struggle of the 
war on the red and slippery slopes of Gettysburg, in the 


dark jungle of the Wilderness, and in the final piercing of 
the defences of Kichmond, they took a decisive part. Ver- 
monters led the blue column which bore the stars and stripes 
through the blazing streets of the Confederate Capitol, in 
the closing scenes of the bloody drama, and Vermont soldiers 
were in motion upon the last charge of the war, at Appo- 
mattox, when it was arrested by the surrender of Lee. The 
war ended, and the enemies of the Union could point to the 
colors of no Vermont organization that had been yielded to 
them in action, while the troops of no other State could 
claim more rebel colors taken in battle, in proportion to their 
total numbers, than stood credited to the troops of Vermont. 
In proportion to population, Vermont had more of her sons 
killed in battle than any other Northern State, and gave to 
the cause of the Union more lives lost from all causes than 
any other State. 

It is the task of the writer of these pages to set down 
the portion of this noteworthy record which relates especially 
to the service of the Vermont troops in the field. As pre- 
liminary to this it will be well to note some connected facts 
which form a part of the general history of the State and of 
the period. 


North and South on the eve of War The Early Days of 1861 Reluctance 
of the Vermonters to believe In the possibility of War Governor 
Fairbanks's Apprehensions A Warning from Governor Andrew 
Salutes to the Union Governor Fairbanks pledges the Support of 
Vermont to the Government. 

To one who looks back to the events preceding the first 
call of President Lincoln for volunteers, nothing seems 
stranger than the unwillingness of the men of the Northern 
States to believe in the possibility of civil war. Leading 
men of the South had meditated and threatened secession 
for years. In furtherance of their purpose of rebellion, 
which as one of the chief actors in the secession of South 
Carolina avowed, " had been gathering head for thirty years," 
the military spirit had been kept alive in the South, while it 
had languished and well nigh disappeared in the North. 
The most ominous signs of the coming trouble failed to alarm 
the people of the Northern States. The rumble of the 
wagons which took 130,000 stand of arms from the United 
States Arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts, on their way 
to Southern depots, had resounded day after day in the 
streets of that city, and no one had lifted voice or finger 
to stop the transfer. South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, 
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas adopted ordi- 
nances of secession, and their Senators and Representa- 
tives withdrew from the national Congress. Actual war 
was levied upon the United States Government by the seizure 


of forts and arsenals by Southern State militiamen. A pro- 
visional Confederate Congress of the seceding States assem- 
bled, and a Confederate Government was organized and 
still the people of Vermont, like those of other Northern 
States, believed that there was to be no fighting and did 
nothing to prepare for it. This inaction was not the apathy 
of fear or stupidity. It was owing rather to a devotion to 
the Union, so absolute that those who held it could not bring 
themselves to believe that any large share of the people of 
the United States did not share it ; to a belief that the bet- 
ter impulses of the Southern masses would yet counteract 
the schemes of the traitors and hotheads among them ; and 
in part also to the advice of optimists at Washington and 
elsewhere, who insisted that the storm was going to blow 
over, and deprecated all preparations and demonstrations 
looking towards forcible support of the national authority, 
as tending to stir up strife and defeat a peaceable solution 
of the difficulty. 

At the opening of the year 1861, Erastus Fairbanks, of 
St. Johnsbury, was Governor of Vermont. A staid and stable 
citizen, a successful man of business, a dignified and courte- 
ous Christian gentleman, he was also an upright and faithful 
public servant and a true patriot. Levi Underwood, of Bur- 
lington, a leading lawyer, a man of marked independence 
and ability, was Lieutenant Governor; Solomon Foot and 
Jacob Collamer, trusted and honored by all, represented 
Vermont in the United States Senate; Justin S. Morrill, 
Eliakim P. Walton and Homer E. Royce, were her worthy 
representatives in the lower House of Congress. 

The early days of 1861, were anxious days for public 
men, and evidence is not wanting that the authorities of 
"V ermont appreciated to some extent the national emergency. 
On the 5th of January, 1861, Governor Fairbanks wrote to 
Governor Buckingham of Connecticut as follows: "I am 
" desirous to learn your views as to the expediency of legis- 


" lation in the Free States at the present time touching the 
"affairs of the General Government and the action of certain 
"Southern States. * * * Should the plans of the 
" Secessionists in South Carolina and other cotton States be 
"persevered in and culminate in the design to seize upon 
"the National Capital, will it be prudent to delay a demon- 
"stration on the part of the Free States assuring the 
"General Government of their united co-operation in put- 
"ting down rebellion and sustaining the Constitution and 
"the dignity of the United States Government?" Before he 
had closed this letter he received a startling message from 
another New England governor, who had passed the point of 
doubt as to the designs of the secessionists, and reached the 
point of action. 

John A. Andrew was inaugurated as Governor of Massa- 
chusetts, Saturday, January 5th, and that very evening he 
despatched messengers to the governors of the other New 
England States, bearing letters in which he informed them 
that he had information which satisfied him that the seces- 
sionists had determined to take Washington before the 4th 
of March, and perhaps within thirty da}'S, and that he was 
about to put a portion of the Massachusetts militia in readi- 
ness for active service, and urged them to make similar 
preparation for defence of the National Capital. The 
messenger despatched to Governor Fairbanks was a Colo- 
nel "Wardrop, of New Bedford, commanding the Third 
Regiment of Massachusetts Militia. He went first to Mont- 
pelier, supposing that he would find the Governor at the 
State Capital; arrived there Sunday morning, and thence 
drove across to St. Johnsbury, which town he reached that 
evening. He was a pretty leaky vessel to hold communica- 
tions of such importance, and made little secret of his 
errand. The consequence was the appearance of paragraphs 
in the Montpelier, St. Johnsbury and New Bedford papers, 
announcing that Colonel Wardrop was the bearer of de- 


spatches from Governor Andrew to the Governor of Vermont, 
urging the enlistment and equipment of the militia in antici- 
pation of a requisition from the President. These reports 
caused no little stir, and it was deemed expedient to con- 
tradict them. A Boston paper accordingly denied that there 
was any truth in them. The denial was generally accepted, 
and the matter passed out of the public attention for the 
time being. The statements, however, were true. 

Governor Andrew added, in his message to the gov- 
ernors, the suggestion that the 8th of January, being the 
anniversary of General Jackson's victory at New Orleans in 
1815, should be made an occasion for demonstrations of 
loyalty by the firing of national salutes in the cities and 
larger towns. The idea of this came, as it is now known, 
from Hon. Charles Francis Adams, then a [Representa- 
tive of Massachusetts in Congress. The suggestion was 
adopted by Governor Fairbanks. He despatched telegrams 
and messengers to Montpelier, Burlington, St. Albans, Rut- 
land, Brattleboro, Bennington, Woodstock, Windsor and 
other towns, in all or most of which, salutes of 100 guns 
were fired at noon of the 8th "in honor of the Union of 
States, and of Major Anderson, the gallant defender of the 
country's honor," whose occupation of Fort Sumter, two 
weeks previous, had been hailed throughout the North with 
the liveliest satisfaction as evidence of a determination to 
resist the surrender of Charleston harbor to the secessionists. 

Governor Andrew's advice to convene the Legislature 
and equip the Vermont militia for active service, was more 
cautiously received. Governor Fairbanks at once wrote to 
the Vermont Senators and Representatives at Washington, 
announcing the information and advice he had received, and 
requesting their views upon the subject. He added that if 
the information was confirmed he should not hesitate to call 
a special session of the Legislature. But if the revolu- 
tionists had actually planned to take Washington, in his 


opinion they would not wait even thirty days, and he hoped 
that the Secretary of "War and General Scott were preparing 
for the worst. He communicated also with Governor Morgan, 
of New York, and with some or all of the New England Gov- 
ernors, requesting their views upon the emergency, and 
suggesting concert of action in preparing for the contingency 
of a call for troops to defend the Capital. 

To Governor Andrew he replied that he deemed it 
desirable that provisional measures be adopted by the 
legislatures of the Free States to resist the treasonable 
designs of the Secessionists ; that he was awaiting advices 
from the Eepresentatives of Vermont in Congress, and that 
he should call a special session of the Yermont Legislature 
if it was recommended by them, or if the Governors of the 
New England States should concur in such action. 

The information he received in reply to his letters 
proved to be of such a character that he did not deem it best 
to call the Legislature together in advance of a requisition 
from Washington. But he authorized the Yermont Senators 
to inform President Buchanan that he stood ready to respond 
to any requisition for troops, by calling into the service the 
uniformed militia of Yermont, and by accepting the services 
of volunteers to any extent needed. 

The remaining days of the winter wore away, with 
accumulating evidence of the purpose of the South to divide 
the Union, with rising indignation on the part of the Yer- 
monters without distinction of party, and stern resolve that 
the Union should not be divided; with abundant conscious 
and unconscious nerving of purpose to sustain the Govern- 
ment and the flag ; but with little open or actual preparation 
for fighting, and with a lingering hope that the dread altern- 
ative of war might yet be averted, growing fainter daily till 
it was blown to the winds by the hot breath of the guns that 
opened upon Sumter. 


The State unprepared for War Decadence of the Militia Efforts to 
Revive the Militia in 1856 The Brandon and Montpelier Musters of 
1858 and 1860 The Militia in 1860 Military Property of the State, 
January, 1861 Secession Movements Judge Smalley's Charge to a 
New York Grand Jury Senator Collamer's Bill to Close Southern 
Ports Attitude of Representatives of Vermont in Congress Prepara- 
tions for War General Order No. 10 The Peace Conference Acces- 
sion of Abraham Lincoln. 

If it be true, as has been said, " that when the war did 
actually come no people on earth were less prepared for it 
than those of the United States," 1 it is also true that the 
people of no State of the Union were less prepared for it 
than those of Vermont. 

The tide of emigration to the great West and the 
Pacific slope had kept the State stationary in population 
and well nigh stationary in means. The Yermonters were 
the heirs of a rich inheritance of military glory, for they 
were the lineal descendants of the men who, fourteen years 
before their Commonwealth was admitted to the Union, and 
while it was as yet an unorganized community, pledged to 
the Continental Congress the service of "more than five 
thousand hardy soldiers, capable of bearing arms in defence 
of American Liberty." 2 This amounted to an offer of the 

1 Address of General W. T. Sherman at the meeting of the Society of 
the Army of the Potomac, Hartford, Ct., June, 1881. 

8 Declaration of Jonas Fay, Thomas Chittenden, Heman Allen and 
Reuben Jones, to Congress, in behalf of the inhabitants of the New Hamp- 
shire Grants, Jan. 15, 1777. 


service of almost the entire fighting population of the infant 
State ; and they also offered that the quota of Vermont in 
the war with Great Britain, should be "clothed, quartered 
and paid by the State of Vermont." Their pledge was 
fulfilled, the world knows how, at Ticonderoga and Ben- 
nington and on many a battlefield of the Revolution. But 
the military spirit had become dormant among the Ver- 
monters. The time had passed away when every Vermonter 
was as handy with the rifle as with the axe. The State had 
ceased to make appropriations for the support of the militia. 
The " June trainings" had become a joke, and most of the 
people believed that all need of military arts and munitions 
was soon to be ended by the approaching end of wars and 
fighting among civilized nations. More than fifteen years 
before the outbreak of the Civil War, all State laws requir- 
ing the enrolled militia to do military duty, except in cases 
of insurrection, war, invasion, or to suppress riots, had been 
repealed. The effort to provide a limited active militia 
force by " uniform companies," raised at large, had failed. 
The uniformed companies had one by one disbanded ; and in 
1856 there was not, and had not been for ten years, even the 
semblance of a military organization. This was a condition 
of affairs which was a source of serious disquiet to far-seeing 
citizens, who did not believe that the millennium had yet 
come, or that it was impossible that law and right should 
again need the support of force; and between the years 
1855 and 1861, considerable effort had been made to revive 
the militia. 

In 1856 a law was passed, designed to encourage the 
formation of military companies, giving three dollars a year 
to each member of such a company, who should be armed 
and uniformed and should drill not less than three days 
during the year. Under such slight stimulus every dollar 
so earned requiring the expenditure of ten dollars on the 
part of the militia-man a few companies were organized in 


the years 1857 and 1858. They were small, numbering 
generally less than fifty men to a company. The members 
procured their own uniforms, and arms were supplied by the 
State. There were then no regimental organizations. 

In the summer of 1858, Governor Byland Fletcher, who 
had been a militia officer under the old regime and who felt 
a strong interest in the revival of the militia, invited it was 
an invitation and not an order the various companies in 
the State to muster at Brandon for inspection and review. 
To this invitation nine companies responded. They were 
the Woodstock Light Infantry, Captain P. T. Washburn; 
the Green Mountain Eangers, of Granville, Captain J. B. 
Richardson; the Allen Greys, of Brandon, Captain Joseph 
Bush; the Howard Guard, of Burlington, Lieutenant Com- 
manding Edward Lyman; the Middlebury Light Guard, 
Captain E. S. Hayward; the Swanton Guards, Captain 
George M. Hall; the Hansom Guard, of St. Albans, Captain 
T. F. House; the Green Mountain Guard, of Bellows Falls, 
Captain S. G. Haskins; and the Cavendish Light Infantry, 
(just organized and not appearing on parade), Captain John 
F. Deane. They mustered on this occasion about 450 
muskets. They had no tents and were quartered in the halls 
and houses in the village. There were present as guests, 
upon the invitation of Governor Fletcher, Adjutant General 
Ebenezer W. Stone, of Massachusetts, and Colonel Robert 
Cowdin, of the Second Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer 
Militia, with his staff. There being no Yermonter present 
capable of instructing the companies in battalion drill, at the 
request of Governor Fletcher, Adjutant General Stone took 
command, and gave the militia-men their first instruction in 
battalion movements. There was a large attendance of 
spectators, a torch-light procession and public meeting with 
speeches by prominent citizens on the evening of the first 
day, and an inspection and review on the second day, at the 
close of which the Governor took command, and forming the 


battalion in column by company, stormed a rocky hill on one 
side of the parade ground, amid the applause of thousands. 
This muster had its intended effect in a very general increase 
of public interest in the militia. New companies were formed, 
in different parts of the State, and during the next year the 
companies were organized into four regiments, constituting a 
brigade, which was placed under the command of Brigadier 
General Alonzo Jackman, Professor in the Norwich Military 

On the 30th of August, 1860, by order of Governor 
Hiland Hall, a brigade muster took place at Montpelier. In 
this, fourteen out of seventeen organized companies which 
drew pay that year from the State, took part, mustering, with 
field and staff officers and music, not far from 900 men. The 
First Begiment, Colonel J. Bush, consisted on this occasion 
of four companies; the Second Regiment, Colonel W. W. 
Cochran, of five companies, to which was added the only 
company of the Third Eegiment present, and the Fourth 
Eegiment, Colonel George J. Stannard, of four companies 
all under command of Brigadier General Jackman. The 
brigade went regularly into camp in tents provided by the 
State, and during the muster the men had their first instruc- 
tion and experience in camp life, with which many of them 
were soon to become so familiar. 

At the close of the year 1860, the books of the Adjutant 
General's office bore the names of twenty-two organized 
companies ; but of these five had little more than a nominal 
existence. The other seventeen were uniformed according 
to the varying taste and means of the several companies, but 
without overcoats, and most of them were armed with smooth- 
bore percussion muskets, one or two companies, however, 
having only old flint-locks. These were nominally organized 
into a brigade of four regiments, under command of Brigadier 
General Alonzo Jackman. The regimental commanders 
in February, 1861, were: First Eegiment, Colonel C. H. 


Joyce, of Nortlifield ; Second Kegiment, Colonel W. W. 
Cochran, of Bellows Falls ; Third Kegiment, Colonel D. W. 
Blanchard, of Coventry; Fourth Eegiment, Colonel George 
J. Stannard, of St. Albans. The regimental organization, 
was, however, in each case, little more than a list on paper. 

The military property of the State, in January, 1861, 
consisted of 957 muskets; seven six pounder field pieces, 
three of brass and four of iron ; 503 Colt's pistols, described 
by the Quartermaster General as "of no practical use what- 
ever ;" and 104 tents. In other words the State had arms to 
arm a single army regiment, no more. 

During the winter and spring of 1861, acts of rebellion 
in the Southern States followed rapidly. The transport Star 
of the West, laden with troops for the reinforcement of Fort 
Sumter, was fired upon and driven from Charleston Harbor 
by the South Carolina batteries. State after State passed 
ordinances of Secession. Fort after fort in the South was 
occupied by Southern State Militia. A rapid recruiting of 
military companies was going on at the South, and the 
seceding States were providing themselves with arms and 
munitions of war, a considerable portion of which were sup- 
plied from New York city. The attitude of the State of 
Yermont, as represented by her public men at this time, was 
not equivocal. On the 14th of January, Hon. D. A. Smalley, 
United States District Judge for the District of Yermont, sit- 
ting for the time being in the United States Circuit Court for 
the Southern District of New York, delivered to the Grand 
Jury a memorable charge, in which he defined the seizures of 
Federal forts and property by the Southern Militia to be 
acts of treason, and declared that "any individual owing 
allegiance to the United States who shall furnish these 
Southern traitors with arms or munitions of war, vessels, or 
means of transportation, or materials which will aid the 
traitors in carrying out their traitorous purpose, is clearly 
liable to be indicted, tried, convicted and executed as a 


traitor for death is the penalty of treason !" On the 23d of 
January, Senator Collamer introduced in the United States 
Senate the only practical measure of resistance proposed in 
that Congress a bill authorizing the President to close the 
ports of the seceded States, and suspending the United States 
mail service in those States. A few days later, Hon. E. P. 
Walton, of Vermont, declared in a speech upon the floor of 
the House of Representatives, that "to compromise with 
Secession was to license rebellion for all future time, and 
that it would be more dangerous to surrender to rebellion 
than to resist it." Hon. Justin S. Merrill, of Vermont, at the 
same time avowed his opinion that no compromise was pos- 
sible, and declared that for one he would do nothing to admit 
the right of secession, or to commit the Republic "to the 
crumbling processes of mutiny and decay." 

On the 26th of January, the first open note of prepara- 
tion for the impending conflict on the part of the State of 
Vermont, appeared in the publication of an executive order, 
dated January 21st, directing the Adjutant and Inspector 
General to issue notices to the town clerks and listers who 
had failed as most of them had done to make returns of 
the number of persons liable to do service in the militia in 
their respective towns, requiring their immediate compliance 
with the statute on that subject. This was followed by an 
order General Order No. 10 to the officers of the various 
companies of uniformed militia, directing them to ascertain 
at once whether any men in their commands were unable 
or indisposed to respond to the orders of the Commander 
in Chief, made upon any requisition of the President of 
the United States to aid in the maintenance of the laws 
and the peace of the Union, in order that they might be 
discharged and their places filled by men ready for any 
public exigency that might arise. The captains were directed 
in the same order to make proper exertions to have all 


vacancies in the ranks of their companies filled, and the 
men properly drilled and uniformed. 

Compliance with the first of these orders was very slow 
on the part of the listers, and the enrollment of the Militia 
was still so imperfect when the call for troops came, that 
the number of men liable to do military duty in the State 
could not be determined with even an approximation to 
correctness ' 

To General Order No. 10, the captains of ten companies 
made written response, reporting an aggregate of 376 men 
armed, partly equipped, and willing to respond to a call to 
active service. 2 The largest company numbered but seventy- 
five officers and men, and the average of the rest was 
less than fifty. The companies generally began to brush up 
in drill; but very little progress was made towards filling 
their ranks. 

Meantime the possibility of a peaceful solution of the 
national problem was kept alive by fresh schemes of com- 
promise proposed in Congress, and by negotiations between 
the Southern leaders and the administration at Washington. 
The famous Peace Conference had also been called by the 
Legislature of Virginia, and Governor Fairbanks had ap- 
pointed five prominent citizens Ex-Governor Hiland Hall, 
Lieutenant Governor Underwood, Hon. L. E. Chittenden, 

1 Adjutant General's Report, 1862, p. 6. 

2 The commanders of other companies probably made verbal response 
to the order. Replies from only ten captains are on file in the Adjutant 
General's Office. One captain replied that as his company had had nothing 
but old flint-lock muskets, and the State had refused or delayed to supply 
them proper guns and equipments, they "were not disposed to respond. 
Another captain asked to be excused from acting under General Order No. 
10, on the ground that the order was not in accordance with any law of the 
State of Vermont or other authority. He added, however, that his men 
were "ready to do their duty at all times under the laws of the State or 
of the United States." And the event proved that he knew his men; for 
when the call came the company was one of the first to respond. It 
inarched with full ranks, and no company rendered better service. 


Adjutant General H. H. Baxter, and Hon B. D. Harris as 
commissioners to represent Yermont in the Conference. 

During the session of the Conference, protracted with 
closed doors for twenty-four days, the Confederate Govern- 
ment had organized at Montgomery, Alabama, with Jefferson 
Davis as its president. Yet the hope that Virginia and the 
other border slave States might be held back from Seces- 
sion, 1 and that in that or some other way the impending 
collision might be averted, though faint at strongest, was 
sufficient to hold in abeyance all active preparations for war 
in the Green Mountain State. 

The 4th of March came and went without an outbreak. 
The schemes of the hot-heads for the capture of Washington 
had been held in check by the more cautious Southern 
leaders; and a President committed to the pusillanimous 
doctrine of "non-coercion," had given place to Abraham 
Lincoln, who in his inaugural pronounced the Union to be 
still unbroken and announced his purpose to "hold, occupy 
and possess the property and places belonging to the Govern- 

1 The attitude of Virginia, as the representative and most powerful of 
the border States, was aptly set forth in the following lines, contributed to 
the New York Commercial Advertiser: 


Thus speaks the Sovereign Old Dominion 
To Northern States her frank opinion, 


Move not a flnger ; 't is coercion, 
The signal for our prompt dispersion. 


Walt till I make my full decision, 
Be it for union or division. 

If I declare my ultimatum 

Accept my terms as I shall state 'em. 

Then I'll remain while I'm Inclined to, 
Seceding when 1 have a mind to. 


m3nt." Yet Mr. Lincoln still held out the olive branch to the 
secessionists ; and the people of Vermont, who had followed 
his leadership with a greater approach to unanimity than 
any other community of equal numbers, were willing to share 
his hope that the madness of rebellion would yet give way to 
reason and patriotism. 


The Call to Arms The Governor's First "War Proclamation Detail of 
Militia for the First Regiment Procurement of Arms A Notable War 
Meeting Popular Feeling in the State Special Session of the Legis- 
lature Appropriation of a Million Dollars Other War Measures 
. Unanimity of the Legislature and People. 

The roar of the cannon which echoed from Charleston 
Harbor throughout the land on the 12th of April, 1861, 
awoke the soundest sleeper from his dream of peace. The 
people of Vermont rose with the grand uprising of the 
North ; and thenceforward for four years the main thought 
of the people of the State, without distinction of party, sex 
or condition, was how they should do the most to aid the 
Government in its task of quelling rebellion, and preserving 
the union of the States. 

The news of the surrender of Fort Sumter and Presi- 
dent Lincoln's first call for 75,000 troops reached Vermont 
on the 14th of April. The first was received with most 
intense indignation; the latter with inexpressible satisfac- 
tion. There had been so much talk by public men of want 
of constitutional power to compel a seceding State to 
remain in the Union, and of absence of authority to enforce 
the laws of the United States except through the formal pro- 
cess of the issuing of writs from a United States Court, to be 
executed by a United States Marshal, and Mr. Lincoln's own 
spirit and utterances had been so conciliatory and peaceable 
that the people had come almost to doubt the Government's 
power of self preservation, and at least to wonder at what 


stage of rebellion it could be and would be exerted. The 
President's call to arms "by virtue of powers in me vested 
by the Constitution and the laws," his announcement that 
the first duty of the troops would be " to repossess the forts, 
places and property " which had been seized from the Union, 
and his appeal to all loyal citizens to " maintain the honor, 
the integrity and existence of our National Union, and the 
perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs 
already long enough endured," settled all such doubts and 
were hailed with a feeling of relief and joy past all ex- 

The response of the State in its organic capacity was 
prompt. Governor Fairbanks at once issued a proclamation 
announcing the outbreak of armed robellion, the receipt of a 
requisition from the President of the United States, calling 
for a regiment for immediate service, and the issuance of 
the necessary orders for immediate response thereto; and 
calling a special session of the Legislature, to organize, arm 
and equip the militia, and to co-operate with the general 
Government in the suppression of the Southern insurrection. 
This proclamation bore even date with President Lincoln's 
proclamation, and is believed to have antedated by at least 
a day all similar proclamations issued by the Governors of 
the other Free States. 

The circular of the Secretary of War, accompanying the 
President's requisition, called for one regiment of infantry, 
of 780 men, from Yermont. The State, as we have shown, 
had not a regiment in readiness to march. Colonel Stannard, 
of the Fourth Militia Regiment, indeed notified Adjutant 
General Baxter that his regiment would be ready to march 
at twelve hours notice ; l but it consisted of but four com- 
panies, numbering all told less than 200 men, and these were 
really in no condition to take the field, though they would 

1 Colonel Stannard is believed to have been the first Vermonter to 
volunteer, after the call for troops. 


have gone as they were if the offer had been accepted. 
Several companies in other regiments indicated their readi- 
ness to march at a day's notice. Governor Fairbanks 
replied to the Secretary of War that he would place a 
regiment at his disposal as soon as it could be equipped ; and 
gave immediate orders to Adjutant General Baxter for the 
detailing of ten companies of the Uniform Militia, and to 
Quartermaster General Davis to procure the necessary knap- 
sacks, overcoats, blankets, and camp equipage. General 
Davis went at once to the Springfield (Mass.) armory for 
rifled muskets to fully arm the regiment, the State having 
then but 500 rifled muskets. Colonel Ingersoll, in command 
of the armory, would not deliver the arms without an order 
from the Ordnance Department at Washington, or from 
Governor Andrew of Massachusetts. General Davis there- 
upon hastened to Boston, procured an order from Governor 
Andrew for 300 rifled muskets, and an hour later they were 
on board the cars for Rutland, Vermont. General Davis 
obtained overcoats and blankets for the regiment, such as 
were being procured for the Massachusetts volunteers, in 
Boston. The more spirited of the company commanders 
had at the first n3ws of the call for troops abandoned their 
customary business, thrown open the armories of the com- 
panies and commenced recruiting, with prompt and ample 
response from the young men of their respective towns. 

On the evening of April 19th the field officers of the 
several Militia regiments met at Burlington, by order of 
Adjutant General Baxter, to consult with him and General 
Jackman and to select the companies which were to form the 
First Eegiment of Vermont Volunteers. Eight companies 
the Bradford, Brandon, Burlington, Northfield, Rutland, 
St. Albans, Swanton and Woodstock companies were 
reported as substantially full and in efficient condition. 
From the several other companies reported as less fully 
prepared, the Middlebury and Cavendish companies were 


selected to make up the quota for the " Vermont Contingent." 
The companies all commenced active drill, and put them- 
selves in readiness to obey marching orders. 

While the State officers were thus giving their utmost 
energies to secure prompt response to the President's call 
the people of Vermont were seconding their efforts in all pos- 
sible ways. Public meetings were held in every considerable 
town and village in the State to express the loyal sentiments 
of the people, to encourage volunteers, to pledge men for the 
Union, and money to equip them and to support their 
families in their absence. One of the first of these may be 
briefly described as a sample of all. It was called in Bur- 
lington by a number of leading citizens on the 17th of April, 
and met on the evening of the 18th. The town hall, holding 
over a thousand persons, was filled to overflowing and hun- 
dreds went away from the doors unable to gain entrance. 
The meeting was called to order by Hon. George W. Bene- 
dict, and President Calvin Pease of the University of 
Vermont, was made Chairman. Hon. George P. Marsh, then 
on the eve of his departure as United States Minister to 
Italy, was the principal speaker. He said: "Our people, 
slow to move, are now roused, and are swayed by a spirit 
mightier than any that has stirred them since Bunker Hill. 
Party distinctions are dropped, millions of money are offered 
to the Government, and volunteers to any number needed 
are pouring to the rendezvous. They will before long meet 
the Southrons face to face, and I venture to predict will 
make good General Washington's description, when he gave 
it as the result of his observations, that the Northern soldiers 
if not in as great a hurry as some others to get into battle, 
were also not in so great a hurry to get out of it. From the 
scenes and labors of this time of trial, I, in the discharge of 
the duties to which I have been called, must go. It is for 
you to remain and like our ancestors of revolutionary memory 
to pledge your lives, your fortunes and your sacred honor 


to the Constitution we have sworn to maintain. The Legis- 
lature has been called to meet in special session. If you 
would give your representative his instructions tell him to 
advocate the appropriation by the State of half a million 
of dollars in money, and the raising not of one regiment "but 
of four, six, ten or twenty regiments if necessary, for the 
support of the Government." As Mr. Marsh spoke a large 
United States flag was flung from one of the galleries in the 
hall, and as the eyes of the audience fell on the broad folds 
of red, white and blue, they sprang to their feet, cheering 
with contagious and electric enthusiasm, till many of them 
burst into tears and cried like children, with overpowering 
emotion. Stirring speeches were made by Hon George F. 
Edmunds, J. S. Adams, and other citizens. A leading dem- 
ocrat, I. B. Bowdish, said he had been one of the hardest of 
hardshell democrats ; he had believed as well as he could 
that the negro was born to servitude and that his con- 
dition was improved by it in this country; but having 
stood up for the rights of the South, he now stood up for 
the North and for the flag. Civil war had begun, and he 
knew of no polite way of carrying it on. He was for appro- 
priating every dollar and for sending every available man if 
necessary to settle this question. Eesolutions were unani- 
mously adopted instructing the representative of Burlington 
in the Legislature to vote for a war appropriation of $500,000, 
and in favor of pledging the entire military force of the 
State for the support of the Federal Government. Sub- 
scription lists for men and money were opened ; twenty-one 
volunteers (in addition to a number already enlisted) enrolled 
their names on the spot, and several thousand dollars were 
pledged for the support of the families of volunteers during 
their absence. 

Similar scenes were witnessed all over the State. The 
public meetings and flag-raisings were so numerous that the 
newspapers could not chronicle them and noticed only the 


larger and more notable of them. The stars and stripes flew 
from almost every public building and from thousands of 
private ones, to an extent limited only by the supply 
of red, white and blue bunting, which fell far short of the 
demand. The offers of money for the equipment of volun- 
teers and for the support of their families during their 
absence in the army aggregated hundreds of thousands of 
dollars. The two Montpelier banks each placed $25,000 at 
the disposal of Governor Fairbanks for the equipment of 
troops. The Bank of Burlington tendered ten per cent, of its 
capital for the same purpose and more if needed. The Bank 
of St. Albans made a similar offer. James E. Langdon, of 
Montpelier, offered to the State $20,000 from his private 
fortune. Thomas McDaniels, at a war meeting held in Ben- 
nington, tendered $10,000 to the State authorities. At a 
meeting in St. Johnsbury, the firm of E. & T. Fairbanks 
pledged $2,000 to a fund for the support of families of volun- 
teers. At a meeting in Winooski, William C. Harding headed 
a similar paper with $1,000, and offered to make it $10,000 if 
needed. T. W. Park, Esq., of San Francisco, California, sent 
to Governor Fairbanks his check for $1,000 to help fit 
out the sons of his native State for battle, or to support 
the families of those who should fall in defence of the flag. 
F. P. Fletcher of Bridport, pledged $1,000 a year during the 
war to assist the families of volunteers. Many towns voted 
considerable sums to be raised on the Grand List, and still 
larger amounts were pledged on subscription papers for the 
equipment of the Militia and for the support of the families 
of volunteers. Men and money were thus tendered all over 
the State. The students of the University of Yermont and 
of Middlebury College organized themselves into military 
companies and began drilling. The services of every man 
in the State capable of drilling a squad of recruits were 
called into use. All the railroad and transportation com- 
panies tendered their lines and boats to the Governor, free, 


for the transportation of troops and munitions of war. The 
women of the towns from which companies were chosen 
assembled daily and labored industriously in the making of 
uniforms for the recruits, and a resolution adopted by an 
association of 200 ladies of Burlington saying: "We further 
resolve that we will consider all our time and all our energies 
sacred to this object [the restoration of the authority of 
the Government] until it shall be accomplished, and if need 
be until the end of the war," expressed the devotion of their 
sex. The State was in a blaze of patriotic feeling which melted 
all barriers of party, sect or station. Those who did not 
share it probably did not number one in a thousand of the 
population. They preserved for the most part a judicious 
silence. The community was fused into a compact and har- 
monious mass, instinct with a single purpose to stand by 
the Government and to crush the rebellion at whatever cost. 
The Legislature met in special session on the 25th of 
April, with full houses and a numerous attendance of lead- 
ing ?itizens, outside of its number. The trains which brought 
the members to the capital were greeted with a national 
salute of thirty-four guns from the two brass field pieces 
captured by General Stark at the battle of Bennington. 
At the hour Lieutenant Governor Underwood took the chair 
of the Senate, and Speaker Hunton that of the House. On 
motion of a leading Democrat, Stephen Thomas of West 
Fairlee, 1 the oath of allegiance to the United States Gov- 

1 The political classification of the two Houses was : Senate, Repub- 
licans, 29; Democrats, 1; House, Republicans, 211 ; Democrats, 25. . 

The Democrats in the Legislature and in attendance upon the session 
held a private meeting the evening before to decide upon their course. 
Several were in favor of resisting all war measures from the start. Hon. 
Paul Dillingham, of Waterbury, told them that would never do. "If the 
Republicans propose to raise five regiments'" said he to Mr. Thomas, who 
was to be the leader of the Democrats on the floor of the House, " do 
you go for raising ten. If they want half a million for troops, do you 
move to make it a million." Mr. Thomas's own feeling was in hearty 


ernment was administered to the members, in addition 
to the usual oath, which then contained no allusion to the 
General Government, and after prayer and the usual pre- 
liminaries the two Houses met in joint assembly to hear the 
Governor's message. In this Governor Fairbanks announced 
that he had already called into the service ten companies of 
the Militia to form a regiment in response to the requisition 
of the President, and that the Quartermaster General had 
procured for them the necessary outfit of overcoats, blankets 
and camp equipage. In anticipation of further calls for 
troops for the defence of the National Capital, then in immi- 
nent peril from an imposing military force, he urged 
immediate and efficient action for the organizing of the 
militia, and ample appropriations for military purposes. 
Within twenty-four hours thereafter a bill appropriating one 
million dollars for war expenses, had passed both Houses by 
unanimous votes; and in forty-two hours from the time it 
met the Legislature had completed its work and adjourned, 
having also passed acts providing for the organizing, arming 
and equipment of six more regiments (in addition to the one 
already called for), for two years service ; giving to each pri- 
vate seven dollars a month of State pay, in addition to the 
thirteen dollars offered by the Government ; providing for the 
relief of the families of volunteers at State expense in cases of 
destitution ; committing to the Governor the duty of organiz- 
ing the regiments and appointing the field officers thereof; 
and laying the first war tax of ten cents on the dollar of the 
Grand List. This rapid despatch of business showed the 
intense desire of the people for immediate action. In the 
appropriation of a million dollars a much larger sum than 
had as yet been voted by any State in proportion to popula- 

accord with this advice. Other patriots present supported this view of 
their duty, and from that time on there was no distinction of parties in 
the Legislature on any war question. 


' and in the provisions for recruiting volunteers for two 
years, while as yet the Government had called for only three 
months' troops, and for adding to the quota called for six 
more regiments which would be Vermont's share of an army 
of 600,000 men the Legislature expressed the general con- 
viction of the members that the war was not to be one of 
short duration or small dimensions and in these respects 
as well as in the unanimity and stern resolution which char- 
acterized all the action and utterances of the session, the 
legislature well represented the people of Vermont 2 . There 
were sharp discussions over the size of the war appropria- 
tion, and over the question whether the regimental officers 
should be elected or appointed, but in these the side which 
was for the larger service and most effective organization, 
easily carried the day. The unique provision for the families 
of the volunteers especially entitles this Legislature to last- 
ing honor. Under this, in no case could the needy families 
of soldiers in the field be deemed or become town paupers. 
If in want they were to be, and in practice thereafter were, 
treated as the beneficiaries of the State, and were supplied, 
under the care of State agents, with all that they required. 
This provision and that for giving State pay to the soldiers, 
which eventually took about four millions of dollars from the 

1 "Vermont has a population of but about 300,000, mostly farmers, and 
yet has made an appropriation of $1,000,000 to aid in maintaining the stars 
and stripes. Many have done nobly; but none, resources considered, have 
equalled this." JV. Y. World, April 28, 1861. 

2 At the close of one of the sessions of the House on the first day, a 
member proposed that the representatives rise and sing "The Star Spangled 
Banner." The members rose, but no one could start the tune and they had 
to sit down without singing. At the close of the evening session, however, 
another effort was made with better success. A choir of twenty-five 
singers, each provided with a small national flag, occupied one of the gal- 
leries and sang the patriotic anthem with great spirit and much waving of 
banners, the members and spectators joining in the refrain with the utmost 


State treasury, were without precedent, and had few if any 
parallels in other States. 

By the energetic efforts of the State officers and of the 
patriotic women who assisted in the making of the uniforms 
(which were of gray cloth) the first regiment was armed and 
equipped in a marvelously short time, considering that every 
State was then in the market as a purchaser of arms and 
munitions, and that of various essential articles there was a 
very scant supply in the country. By the 30th day of April 
everything needed was provided, and the companies received 
orders to rendezvous at Rutland. 

"While the organization and equipment of the First 
Regiment was in progress, the informal enrollment of volun- 
teers by recruiting officers, self-appointed or selected by the 
citizens, had been going on all over the State with great 
activity ; ' and before the regiment was mustered into the 
United States service the State authorities began prepara- 
tions for the organization of two more regiments. Commis- 
sions for the recruiting of troops for these were issued by 
Governor Fairbanks on the 7th of May ; and within three 
days the services of fifty-six full companies were tendered 
to the Adjutant-General. Of these only twenty could be 
then accepted, but the turn of each and all came in due time. 2 

1 Charles M. Bliss, then of Woodford, Vermont, claims to have been 
the first volunteer who put his name to an agreement to serve for the war. 
On the 19th of April, 1861, upon learning of President Lincoln's first call 
for troops, Mr. Bliss drew up a paper which he signed and offered to others 
to sign, pledging his services as a soldier for the war. Mr. Bliss enlisted 
in the Second Regiment, and served till discharged after the Peninsula 
campaign, on account of disability resulting from Chickahominy fever. 

1 The spirit of these early volunteers may be inferred from incidents 
similar to the following, which were occurring all over the State : A young 
man working in a saw-mill in Jericho, decided to volunteer. Thereupon, 
by working all night he got a free day, in the forenoon of which he rode 
twenty miles to Burlington to engage a man to take his place in the mill. 
He returned to Jericho in the afternoon and evening ; started his saw at 11 
P. M., and sawed all night ; next morning walked five miles to take the 


Under the act of the Legislature, the regiments sub- 
sequent to the First were to be enlisted for two years. Be- 
fore any organization under this statute had taken place, 
President Lincoln's second call for 42,000 volunteers for three 
years was issued. Official notice immediately followed from 
Washington, that volunteers could now only be received by 
the General Government for three years, or during the war if 
it should end in less time. Under these circumstances the 
two years' limit fixed by the Yermont act was ignored, and 
the second and all subsequent regiments were enlisted for 
three years. 

train for Burlington ; enlisted in the company forming there, drilled three 
hours and took the train back; worked all that night and next day appeared 
again in the ranks at Burlington, having worked and ridden three days 
and nights with but an hour or two of rest and less of sleep. 



Organization of the First Regiment Sketches of the Field Officers Camp 
Fairbanks Delays in Mustering in Off at Last for the War General 
Scott's opinion of the Vermonters Reception at Troy and in New 
York Voyage to Fortress Monroe Quarters in the Hygeia Hotel 
Expedition to Hampton Occupation of Newport News. 

The First Regiment of Vermont Volunteers, as lias been 
stated, consisted of the Brandon, Middlebury, Rutland, 
Northfield, "Woodstock, Bradford, Cavendish, Burlington, 
St. Albans, and Swanton companies, of the Militia, desig- 
nated by an executive order dated April 27th, 1861. The 
commissions of its field and staff officers bore date of the 
day previous, April 26th. 

The wisdom with which this regiment was officered has 
never been questioned. The general desire that it should be 
placed under the command of an experienced soldier, was 
met by the appointment, as Colonel, of Captain John "W. 
Phelps of Brattleboro. A native Vermonter, a graduate of 
the United States Military Academy (of the class of 1836), 
with a record of twenty-three years of constant and capable 
service as Lieutenant and Captain of the Fourth Artillery in 
Texas, on the Plains and in Mexico, where he was severely 
wounded ; with abilities which caused him to be selected as 
one of a commission of three officers, to whom was entrusted 
the preparation of the manual for the artillery service of the 
United States army, which was in use for many years and 

n<?*fy MB Balls Sons.NewYork. 


was largely his work ; familiar with and studiously observant 
of military discipline and etiquette, Colonel Phelps was 
a trained and tried and true soldier. 1 His personal char- 
acteristics matched well his acquired qualifications. Just, 
upright, conscientious, a man who knew no fear, of kind 
heart and universal courtesy extended to high and low alike, 
observant of every duty as an officer and gentleman, and 
requiring strict obedience and faithful service of ail under 
him, he came to be looked up to by the officers and men. of 
his command as a father. He gave to them in turn the 
most fatherly care, and made his regiment not only a model 
in drill and good order, but an admirable school of military 
training and discipline for the hundreds of its members who 
became officers of regiments subsequently organized. 

To the Lieutenant-Colonelcy, Captain Peter T. Wash- 
burn of Woodstock was appointed. He was a leading lawyer 
of the Windsor County bar, with a taste for military life 
which had led him to take an active part in the reor- 
ganization of the militia of the State, and to accept the 
captaincy of the Woodstock company. A man of liberal 
education, of precise knowledge, of firm will and of method- 
ical industry, he was by nature a strict tactician and dis- 
ciplinarian. He had made the Woodstock Light Infantry the 
best military company in the State. He carried the same 
characteristics into actual service ; and had the condition of 
his health permitted him to remain in the army after the 
disbandment of the First Kegiment, he would undoubtedly 
have won high distinction as a soldier. His subsequent 
most faithful, laborious and invaluable services as Adjutant 

1 John W. Phelps was commissioned as Second Lieutenant, Fourth 
Artillery, July 28, 1836, was promoted First Lieutenant in July, 1838, and 
brevetted Captain August 20, 1847, for meritorious and gallant conduct in 
the battles of Contreras and Cherubusco. This brevet, the record says, 
was "declined." He resigned his commission November 2d, 1859, "from 
conscientious scruples." 


and Inspector General of the State, and his elevation to 
the Governorship, in which office he ended his life, are 
known to all Vermonters. 

Harry "Worthen, of Bradford, was appointed Major. He 
was a young lawyer, had received military training in the 
Norwich Military College, and had been the drill master of 
the Bradford Guards one of the best drilled companies in 
the regiment. 

The line officers were men who had been most active in 
keeping up the military arm of the State and among the 
first to offer themselves and their commands for the support 
of the flag. The rank and file were native Vermonters of 
all professions and callings. They were young men the 
average age of the regiment, as shown by the enlistment 
papers, being twenty-four years and of more than the 
average stature. 1 In character and standing they represented 
the patriotism, intelligence and enterprise of the State. 

The departures of the companies from their respective 
towns were scenes of extraordinary emotion. The occasions 
seemed to be for the masses the first full realization of the new 
fact of civil war. Public meetings were held in most of the 
towns to express approval and encouragement. Long pro- 
cessions escorted the companies to the railroad stations, and 
they took the trains in the presence of throngs of sober-faced 
men and tearful women and children, comprising almost the 
entire population. The vision which rose before the sight of 
these spectators as their sons, brothers, husbands and towns- 
men started for the war, was not of the summer-day experi- 
ence of quiet and easy camp-life which was to fall to their lot, 
but of mortal conflict and bloodshed, from which few survivors 

1 In the Bradford Company were twelve men upwards of six feet in 
height, and one of six feet four inches. In the Rutland company, as stated 
in the newspapers at the time, were ten. men who when extended on the 
ground head to feet measured sixty-seven feet. Each company had a con- 
siderable proportion of six-footers. 


might return. Yet for most, even in the hour of parting, 
as for the soldiers themselves, high patriotic resolution 
overcame the sadness and cheers drowned the sobs. At the 
way-stations along the routes to Kutland many public 
demonstrations took place ; and thus with salutes, speeches, 
collations, cheers, prayers, and every mark of pride, sym- 
pathy and approval, the troops were bidden farewell and 

The companies were ordered to rendezvous at Rutland 
on the 2d of May. Several of them arrived there the even- 
ing previous and were quartered for the night in the public 
halls and buildings. The rest arrived the next day, when all 
went into camp, duly designated as " Camp Fairbanks," on 
the Fair ground, a mile south of the village of Eutland. 
Colonel Phelps assumed command on the same day. The 
first night under canvas gave the men a sudden introduction 
to the hardships of a soldier's life. Water froze that night in 
the tents. The next night a number of the tents were 
prostrated by a high wind accompanied by a cold rain. Most 
of the men had yet to learn how to cook and save their 
rations ; and for a day or two discomfort enough prevailed- 
But under the faithful instructions of Colonel Phelps all 
became rapidly initiated, not only into the art of living com- 
fortably in camp, but into the mysteries of guard-mounting, 
surgeon's call, fatigue service and battalion drill. Within 
three days Colonel Phelps reported that his regiment was 
equipped and ready to march ; but delays, vexatious and 
threatening to be serious, occurred in the mustering of the 
regiment into the United States service. 

The Secretary of War had designated Burlington as the 
place of rendezvous for the regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Gabriel J. Eains, Fifth United States Infantry, had been 
despatched thither to inspect and muster in the regiment. 
Bains was a North Carolinian. He was at heart a sympa- 
thizer with the secessionists, and three months later he threw 


up his commission in the United States army and entered 
the Confederate service, in which subsequently he became 
chief of the rebel torpedo service. At this time he was an 
unhappy man, in doubt how the experiment of secession was 
going to turn, undecided as to his future course, but willing 
for the present to obey orders from Washington. Citizens 
of Burlington who conversed with him after his arrival there, 
perceived that his sympathies were with the South, and 
became apprehensive lest the regiment should be delayed if 
placed under his temporary control as mustering officer. 
This fear was communicated to Governor Fairbanks. He 
requested Colonel Rains to meet him and Adjutant General 
Baxter for consultation, and when this invitation was declined 
by Colonel Kains the Governor sent General Baxter to New 
York on the 27th of April, to request General Wool to order 
the regiment to rendezvous at Rutland, and to go on from 
thence without reporting to Colonel Eains. General Wool did 
not feel authorized to alter the arrangements of the Secretary 
of War, and more than a week's delay occurred in get- 
ting matters straightened out. Colonel Bains, obeying the 
letter of his orders, remained at Burlington while the troops 
he was to muster remained at Rutland ; and not a little con- 
cern found public expression, lest the conflict between the 
plans of the War Department and of the State authorities 
should occasion serious delay in the departure of the regi- 

On the 7th of May, however, Colonel Rains received 
orders from Washington to report at Rutland and muster in 
the troops there, and on the 8th the regiment was formally 
inspected by him and mustered into the United States 
service, Hon. D. A. Smalley, United States District Judge, 
administering the oath of allegiance to the United States, to 
the officers and men. The colors of the regiment a hand- 
some regimental standard and a national flag were pre- 
sented by Governor Fairbanks. Addressing Colonel Phelps 


the Governor said: "In your hands, supported by these 
troops, I feel that this flag will never be dishonored, nor the 
State of Vermont disgraced." He added, pointing to the 
single star on the Yermont flag : " I charge you to remember 
that this flag represents but one star in that other flag, which 
I now present, bearing the national emblem, the stars and 
stripes. Vermont claims no separate nationality. Her citi- 
zens, ever loyal to the Union and the Constitution, will rally 
in their strength for the preservation of the National Govern- 
ment and the honor of our country's flag." Colonel Phelps, 
who was a man of few words, responded briefly, accepting 
the colors "as emblems, the one of the Constitution and the 
laws we are going to defend, and the other of the allegiance 
and loyalty of the 'star that never sets," and pledging the 
highest endeavors of the regiment to retain them in a way 
that should meet the approval of the freemen of Vermont. 
The marching orders of the regiment came that day by the 
hand of a special messenger from Washington, having been 
expedited in a way worthy of mention. The fact that the 
regiment was ready for service had been announced to the 
War Department several days previous by the Governor 
through Colonel William B Hatch, Deputy Quartermaster 
of the State. It was the opinion of U. S. Adjutant General 
Townsend at the time, that troops enough had been ordered 
forward for the existing emergency, and that it would be 
well to hold the Vermont regiment in Vermont for a while. 
When General Scott, however, learned that a regiment of 
Green Mountain Boys, commanded by Colonel Phelps, whom 
he had known in the Mexican war, was awaiting orders, he at 
once declared that Colonel Phelps was the man and his 
regiment the troops that he wanted for responsible duty. 
" I want your Vermont regiments," said he, "all of them. I 
have not forgotten the Vermont men on the Niagara frontier. 
No," said he musingly, as his mind traveled back over almost 
half a century and his eye lighted up with the glorious 


memories of those days, "I rem.em'ber the Vermont men in 
the war of 1812." ' 

General Scott's plan of operations was to use the three 
months troops simply for the defence of AYashington and 
as essential to that to garrison Fortress Monroe with reliable 
troops and for the protection of the Potomac and the rail- 
road lines from Washington to the north and west ; leaving 
all offensive operations for the new army of three years men, 
the formation of which had already been decided on. He 
wanted Colonel Phelps and his regiment for the garrison of 
Fortress Monroe, and thither they were ordered, as follows : 

WASHINGTON, May 6, 1861. f 

His Excellency the Governor of Vermont : 

SIR, Lieutenant General Scott lias just received the agreeable informa- 
tion that you have a fine regiment, under Colonel Phelps, ready for 
immediate service. The General being exceedingly pressed with business 
commands me to request your Excellency to send the regiment with as little 
delay as practicable, by water, to Fort Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Virginia. 
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully 

Your obedient servant, 


Assistant Adjutant General. 

The regiment left Rutland in a train of twenty cars at 
9 o'clock on the morning of the 9th of May. In Troy, N. Y., 
it was received by the "citizens corps," a local military 
organization, and a large concourse of citizens, and was 
addressed in brief speeches by the veteran General John E. 
Wool and by Hon. John A. Griswold. The regiment arrived 
in New York next morning and marched from the Hudson 
River Railroad station down Fifth Avenue and Broadway to 
the City Park, through streets crowded with citizens, who 
received the Vermonters with much cheering and every mark 
of admiration and approval. The effective appearance of 
the regiment in its gray uniform, (each man bearing in his 

1 Washington Letter to the Burlington Free Press. 


cap an evergreen sprig, badge of the Green Hills), and the 
unusual size of the men composing it, were matters for 
especial remark on the part of the press and the people of 
both cities. 1 

The sons of Vermont residing in New York, proud to 
see the State so creditably represented by her first volunteers, 
neglected nothing which could contribute to the comfort of 
the soldiers while passing through that city. The regiment 
was quartered for the day in newly erected barracks in 
the City Park, and the officers of the regiment were enter- 
tained at the Astor House by Mr. Stetson, its patriotic host. 
The men were allowed full liberty in the city and they did 

1 The Troy Times said of the regiment : ' ' The strong, sturdy looks of 
the men, their ability to withstand hardships, and the entire absence of 
small men from the ranks, were observed by all. By general acclaim the 
regiment was pronounced to be the finest ever seen in this section of 
country. * * Each man bore himself like a true soldier and gentleman. 
* * * We understand that there are one hundred graduates of colleges 
in the ranks, besides many men of large business interests and wealth in 
the State." 

The Troy Whig said : ' ' Certainly so complete a body of soldiers was 
never before seen in Troy. There was not a weak, irresolute or apparently 
dissipated man in the ranks." 

The Albany Atlas and Argus said : " They are by far the finest troops 
we have yet seen among the volunteers from any State." 

The New York Herald said : ' ' To say that every man of the First 
Regiment of Vermont Light Infantry is the exact type of a soldier, is 
nothing more than is justly due them. They are slashing, dashing, 
brawny, well-knit fellows with deep determination stamped in every linea- 
ment of their countenances." 

The New York World said: "Physically its members nobly maintain 
the renown of their native State for the production of stalwart men. Few 
are less than five feet ten inches in height, very many more than six feet, 
and all are capable of any amount of endurance. But the crowning glory 
of the regiment is its moral power. It has no mere machines. Its men are 
men. * * There can be no fears as to the account such volunteers will 
render of themselves. " 

" The exclamation of a dapper New Yorker of Jewish persuasion and 
Dutch extraction, as he gazed at the Goliaths of the Green Mountains 


not abuse it ; and when the time for leaving came but one 
man was missing from the ranks. In other regiments, in 
after days, recruits were as carefully guarded while passing 
through New York as if they had been prisoners of war. 

At 1 o'clock in the afternoon of the llth of May, the 
regiment formed line on Broadway and marched to the 
Steamer Alabama, which was to convey them to Fortress 
Monroe. The steamer was so crowded that four companies 
had to be stowed in the hold ; and the voyage was one of much 
discomfort to the sea-sick soldiers. At daylight on the 13th 
of May, the heavy bastions and massive walls of Fortress 

expressed the astonishment of the crowd: 'Father Abraham, ain't them 
boomers !' Colonel Phelps at the head of the regiment, tall and of massive 
form, with an immense army hat and black ostrich plume, drew the 
inquiry: ' Who is that big Vermont Colonel?' The prompt answer was: 
' That ? Oh, that is old Ethan Allen resurrected.' " Address of Governor 
Farnham, at Bradford, May 2d, 1881. 

The New York Sun said: "It is an interesting study to move about 
among those groups of stalwart, kingly, yet modest men every mother's 
son every inch a man. More formidable troops 1 ought not with Allen, or 
Stark, or Cromwell. * * They are of the Cromwellian sort, who ' make 
some conscience of what they do.' But one profane oath reached our ears 
in several hours spent among them." 

The New York Times of May 13th, 1861, mentioned the following 
incident of the passage of the regiment through that city : " A tall, splendid 
looking man, dressed in the uniform of the Allen Grays, Vermont, stood 
conversing with a friend on Broadway. He was entirely unconscious that 
his superior height was attracting universal attention until a barouche 
drove up to the sidewalk, and a young man sprang from it and grasped his 
hand, saying : You are the most splendid specimen of humanity 1 ever 
met. I am a Southerner, but my heart is with the Union, if it were not, 
such splendid fellows as yourself would enlist me in the cause.' The sub- 
ject of the remark, though surprised, was perfectly self-possessed, and 
answered the cordial greeting of the young Southerner with enthusiasm. 
He was several inches above six feet and his open countenance beamed 
with the ancient patriotism of the Green Mountain Boys. He had to walk 
fifteen miles from the village of Chittenden to enlist ; but he was a host in 
himself. 1 

Other journals spoke in terms of hardly less praise. And such things 
as these were by no means said of every regiment that passed through 
New York in those days. 


Monroe came in sight, and during the day the regiment 
landed and went into camp on a small triangular plot on the 
north side of the fortress between the outer wall and the moat. 

The garrison of the fortress at this time consisted of 
iour companies of the Third and Fourth regiments U. S. 
Heavy Artillery, and two small Massachusetts regiments 
which had been there for several days the Third Massa- 
chusetts, Colonel Wardrop, 1 and the Fourth Massachusetts, 
Colonel Packard. The fortress was under the command of 
Lieutenant Colonel Justin Dimick, Second U. S. Artillery, 
a native Vermonter. The regiment arrived at a somewhat 
critical period, and was a welcome addition to the garrison. 3 
Norfolk had been evacuated the day before, after immense 
and needless destruction of federal ships and munitions of 
war, and the region outside of the little peninsula on which 
the fortress stood had been abandoned to the enemy. Sup- 
plies came quite irregularly from Baltimore by water. Four 
days after its arrival the regiment left its narrow camp- 
ground within the fortress, and took quarters in the Hygeia 
Hotel a large hotel which had been before the war, as since, 
a popular health and pleasure resort. It afforded ample ac- 
commodations for the entire regiment. 

The regiment remained here three weeks, the men de- 
voting their energies to company and battalion drill, with 
variations of fatigue duty in mounting heavy guns on the 
fortress, for which service a company was detailed daily. 
Among the few incidents worthy of mention in this period 

1 The officer who brought Governor Andrew's message to Governor 
Fairbanks in January. 

2 An officer of one of the Massachusetts regiments in a letter to the 
Boston Traveller, dated at Fortress Monroe, May 14th, said: " The Ver- 
mont regiment which arrived yesterday are encamped in sugar loaf tents, 
numbering 86, outside of the main parapet, but within the outer inclosure, 
and their encampment looks finely. This evening they paraded. Their 
gray uniforms gave them a handsome appearance, and our more motley 
troops, some wearing uniforms and the larger part wearing shirts, did not 
enjoy the contrast." 


was the death of private Benjamin Underwood of Bradford, 
who was the first Vermont volunteer to give his life for his 
country. 1 

On the 22d of May, General Butler arrived and assumed 
command at Fortress Monroe, and on the next day directed 
Colonel Phelps to make a reconnoissance to the village of 
Hampton, three miles from the fortress. Hampton had been 
a place of about a thousand inhabitants, but its population 
was now reduced to less than two hundred by the departure 
of secessionists who found the proximity of the national 
forces unpleasant. It was reached by a wooden bridge cros- 
sing the Hampton River. As the regiment approached the 
bridge a smoke was discovered to be rising from the centre 
span. Understanding what this meant, Colonel Phelps or- 
dered forward the advance guard a platoon of the Swanton 
company under Captain Clark at double quick, leading them 
himself. Dashing upon the bridge they found the flames 
rising from a pile of straw in the centre, over which a barrel 
of pitch had been poured. In a moment longer the bridge 
would have been impassable; but the blazing planks were 
quickly torn up and thrown with their load of combustibles 
into the river. The opening was bridged with other planks- 
and the regiment marched over. At the end of the bridge a 
gun carnage was standing, from which a six pound field- 
piece had just been thrown, and the Confederates who had 
made these preparations for defence were seen making a 
hasty exit from the village, having thrown their gun into 
the river and retreated without firing a shot. The regiment 
marched into the village, finding very few white inhab- 
itants and but two soldiers, a major and lieutenant,* who- 


1 He died of measles on the 20th of May, and was buried in a burying- 
ground a mile from the fort, two companies of the First Vermont, under 
Lieutenant Colonel Washburn, acting as a guard to the burial party. 

9 An indication of the mild manner in which war was conducted at this 
stage of hostilities is found in the fact that this major, one J. B. Gary, 


inquired the purpose of the expedition and were informed 
by Colonel Phelps that it was a reconnoissance and that the 
village would not be harmed if his command was not 
molested. This warning was wisely heeded. After a short 
stay in the main street of Hampton the regiment returned ta 
its quarters, accompanied by a number of negroes who em- 
braced this opportunity to escape from slavery. They were 
anxious to know what would be done with them, and were 
informed by Colonel Phelps that he should do nothing with 
them, and that they could come and go as they pleased. 
This was among the first (if not indeed the first) instances 
of emancipation as an act and consequence of the war. Slaves 
were frequently returned to their owners by other officers of 
volunteers and of the regular army ; but it is worthy of note 
that from the first the fugitives who sought the protection 
of Vermont troops were safe. Two days after the recon- 
noisance to Hampton, the Major Gary above alluded to, 
made his appearance at Fortress Monroe, under a flag of 
truce, to ask for the return of three colored men, the slaves 
of a Colonel Mallory, residing near Hampton. It was in 
response to this demand that General Butler rendered his 
famous decision, which gave the name of "contrabands" to 
fugitive slaves from that time on. Major Cary was in- 
formed by General Butler that he considered the fugitives 
" contraband of war," and had set them at work within the 

On the 25th of May the regiment left its quarters in the 
hotel, which was thenceforth to be occupied as a hospital, 
and was ordered into camp on Mr. Segar's farm, about a mile 

commanding a detachment of Virginia volunteers, and his lieutenant, 
both found in rebel uniform, were not taken prisoners, but were left in 
Hampton, whence that evening Major Cary reported the transaction to 
his superior officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ewell, commanding at Williams- 
burg. In his report Cary says that his battalion numbered 130 men, and 
that he ordered them back to the village on the retirement of the U. 8. 


outside the fort, together with the Second New York Regi- 
ment, Colonel Carr, and the Fifth New York, Colonel Duryea, 
which had just arrived. The regiments were twice aroused 
during the first night by the long-roll sounded from the other 
regiments, and showed noticeable steadiness under the false 

Two days later, May 27th, the First Yermont made what 
was called by the New York Tribune at the time, the " first 
permanent occupation of the sacred soil of Virginia," though 
it was not strictly the first, Alexandria having been occupied 
three days previous. The regiment, with forty rounds of 
ammunition and two days rations, was moved by transport, 
Colonel Phelps leading the way on the gunboat Monticello 
with the Middlebury and Rutland companies as an advance 
guard, to Newport News, at the mouth of James River, about 
ten miles from Fortress Monroe. Here was a settlement 
containing a store, two wharves and two or three houses, on 
a bluff about thirty feet high, back of which extended a 
plain covered with growing wheat, skirted by woods and an 
extensive swamp. This pleasant spot was the station of the 
regiment for the remainder of its stay in Virginia. Colonel 
Phelps landed and arrested the few men found there, and was 
followed by the regiment. The Fourth Massachusetts Regi- 
ment, Colonel Packard, and the Seventh New York, Colonel 
Bendix, followed, and all slept that night in the open air or 
under rude shelters of fence rails. Next day tents and in- 
trenching tools arrived; and lines for a strong intrenched 
camp were laid out by an officer of engineers. The works 
were 1,800 feet long, extending from the river shore round to 
the shore again, enclosing a spacious camp. 1 Each company 
was required to construct the intrenchment opposite its front. 

1 The rampart was subsequently raised to seven feet ; the ditch widened 
and deepened to seven feet in depth and ten in width; and an abbatis 
or row of pickets added. Four brass field pieces were placed in the 
angles on the land side ; and on the water front a battery of 8-inch 
columbiads was planted. 


The portion assigned to the Vermont troops was first com- 
pleted, and they built a portion of the works for the other 

Colonel Phelps was placed by General Butler in com- 
mand of the Post, designated as "Camp Butler," and the 
command of the First Yermont devolved, from this time on, 
upon Lieutenant Colonel Washburn. The intrenchments 
completed, the men resumed drill and maintained the usual 
routine of camp life, varied only by frequent scouting ex- 
peditions. The parties commonly consisted of from two to 
four companies, and were sent out in various directions into 
the surrounding country. One consequence of such occupa- 
tion of the lower part of the Peninsula, was the abandonment 
of their homes by the larger part of the inhabitants. A 
few remained, claiming, when in the presence of the Union 
troops, to be loyal to the Government, and acting as rebel 
scouts and spies the rest of the time. Another result was 
the escape from their masters of numerous contrabands who 
sought the protection of the Federal camps. Before the 1st 
of June, General Butler, in a letter to General Scott, esti- 
mated the "money value in good times" of the fugitives 
within his lines, to their masters, to be not less than $60,000, 
subsequently largely increased. 

On the 1st of June, Lieutenant Roswell Farnham, of the 
Bradford Company, was appointed Provost Marshal of the 
Post ; and it was made his duty to look after the contra- 
bands. They came in commonly at night, bringing, in many 
cases, their families and portable property. All were ani- 
mated by a common hatred of their late masters, and by a 
common faith in God and his purpose to break the bonds 
of their race. All had implicit confidence in the Union 
soldiers, in spite of the assertions of their owners that the 
Yankees would kill them if they went to them. Such as 
could find employment as camp servants were allowed to 
remain in camp. The rest were sent to Fortress Monroe 


to the number of thirty or forty a day. Under the strict 
discipline of Lieutenant Colonel Washburn, the camp of the 
Yermont troops was a model of cleanliness and good order, 
and the regiment an example of attention to duty, and of 
freedom from the habits of rowdyism and pilfering which 
characterized too many of the troops. 

Nothing more exciting than the exchange of a few shots 
between the U. S. cutter Harriet Lane, and a rebel battery 
on Sewell's Point, on the opposite shore of the James, took 
place during the first ten days of June. The quiet of the 
situation was then effectually broken by the unfortunate 
affair of Big Bethel. 


The engagement at Big Bethel was the first action of 
the war of consequence enough to be dignified with the 
name of a battle.; the first assault by Union infantry upon 
rebel entrenchments; and the first experience of Yermont 
volunteers under fire. As such, and as an affair concerning 
which many incorrect accounts have been printed, it claims 
a space in this history out of all proportion to its dimensions 
or results. 

The situation on the Peninsula, on the 8th of June, 
1861, was as follows : 

The troops under the command of General Butler, at 
Fortress Monroe and Newport News, had been augmented to 
an aggregate of about twelve thousand men. At Yorktown, 
twenty-two miles north, was a Confederate force, several 
thousand strong, under the command of General Benjamin 
Huger, late of the United States army. Scouting and 
foraging parties from both armies had ranged through the 
region between these points, with little molestation. Twelve 
miles South of Yorktown, at a point where the "County 
road" the main road between Yorktown and Hampton 
crossed the Northwest branch of Back Kiver, was a hamlet 


and church, known to the Confederate historians as Bethel 
Church, and to the Union historians as Big Bethel. This 
point was occupied on the 6th of June, by the First North 
Carolina Regiment, Colonel D. H. Hill, late of the U. S. 
Army, and a portion of Randolph's Howitzer Battalion 1 
with three howitzers and a rifled gun ; to which was added a 
day or two later the rest of Randolph's Battalion with a 
Parrott gun and two howitzers, constituting a force of some- 
thing over a thousand men with seven pieces of artillery. 
Hill fortified the position by constructing an enclosed earth- 
work and outlying curtains and rifle pits, the strength of 
which was increased by the natural features of the ground. 
The creek, or "branch," running through a morass in an 
irregular semicircle, protected the front and flanks of the 
works. The redoubt commanded the bridge over the creek 
in its front ; and Randolph's guns swept the road and the 
approaches to the bridge. 

Three miles or more south of Big Bethel, and between 
seven and eight miles from Newport News, was a small 
wooden meeting house, known as Little Bethel, which had 
been often occupied by the rebel foragers and cavalry, who 
were impressing inhabitants of the region into the Confede- 
rate service, and taking their slaves to work on the intrench- 
ments at Yorktown and Williamsburg. Desiring to put a stop 
to these proceedings, and understanding that a rebel outpost 
of some three hundred men and two field pieces had been 
established at Little Bethel, General Butler directed Major 
Theodore Winthrop, a volunteer aid on his staff and his 
military secretary, to obtain all available information con- 
cerning the situation at the two Bethels, and prepare a 
plan for an expedition against one or both of them. This 
he did, 2 and it was adopted, with slight modification, by 

1 A Virginia battery. 

2 The original minutes of this plan, in Winthrop's hand writing, were 
found among his effects after his death. 


General Butler. That the information obtained by Major 
Winthrop was not very accurate, may be inferred from the 
facts, that on the chart, copies of which were supplied to the 
officers in command of the expedition, Big Bethel was 
located on the South, instead of on the North side of the 
creek, and that one item of his memorandum was to "blow 
up the Bethels, if brick." The chief features of the plan 
were a night expedition, in two columns one to march from 
Hampton to the rear of Little Bethel, and the other from 
Newport News to make a direct attack at day break on 
Little Bethel. Having captured the force supposed to be 
there, the two columns were to unite, and, supported by 
other regiments which were to march at a later hour, were to 
push on to Big Bethel and assault the Confederate camp 
there. To prevent collisions between friends during the 
night march, the men of the supports were to wear " some- 
thing white" on the left arm, and before any order to fire, 
the watchword "Boston" was to be shouted. 

On the other side, Colonel J. B. Magruder, late of the 
United States Army, arrived at Big Bethel June 8th, and 
took command of the Confederate force there. He was 
reinforced on the morning of the 10th, by two Virginia bat- 
talions, each of three companies, under Major E. B. Montague, 
and Lieutenant Colonel Stuart. He had also three com- 
panies of " dragoons," making an aggregate of about fifteen 
hundred men. 1 

On Sunday evening, June 9th, under General Butler's 
orders, issued to Brigadier General E. "W. Pierce of Massa- 
chusetts, in command of Camp Hamilton near Fortress 
Monroe, and to Colonel Phelps, the Fifth New York, better 
known as " Duryea's Zouaves," was ferried across the 
Hampton Eiver and marched from Hampton at twenty 

1 Colonel D. H. Hill, in his report, places the number at "about twelve 
hundred;" but the aggregate of the numbers mentioned in his own and 
other Confederate reports, exceeds that number by over two hundred. 


minutes past midnight on the morning of the 10th. Duryea 
was directed to march out by the County road towards 
Little Bethel and then to move by by-roads to the rear 
of that point. As there was no by-road available for such a 
movement, the latter direction could not be obeyed. He 
marched out to New Market Bridge, across the Southwest 
Branch of Back Kiver, and leaving there a guard pushed on 
in the small hours of the morning by the County road 
towards Little Bethel. A little before 1 o'clock, A. M., Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Washburn started from Newport News with 
a battalion of five companies of the First Vermont and five 
companies of the Fourth Massachusetts. The Vermont com- 
panies were the Woodstock company, Captain W. "W. Pelton ; 
the Bradford company, Captain D. K. Andross ; the NortH- 
ficld company, Captain "W. H. Boynton; the Burlington 
company, Captain D. B. Peck ; and the Eutland company. 
Captain W Y. W. Eipley, numbering 272 rank and file. The 
battalion numbered 510 muskets. Two colored guides 
led the way in charge of Lieutenant Eoswell Farnham,i 
who, though on detached duty, had made special request to 
accompany the expedition. Washburn was followed by a 
detachment of three companies of the Seventh New York 
(a German regiment), Colonel Bendix, with two brass field 
pieces one twelve pounder drawn by mules, and one six 
pounder drawn by hand. Lieutenant John T. Greble, Second 
U. S. Heavy Artillery, with a squad of eleven regular artil- 
lerists, accompanied the detachment to serve the guns. The 
second column marched quietly and rapidly, reaching the 
junction of the road from Newport News with the County 
road, about a mile beyond New Market Bridge, shortly after 
Duryea's Zouaves had passed that point. At the junction 
Bendix was left with his detachment and the smaller field 
piece, to guard the rear. 

1 Afterwards Lieutenant Colonel of the Twelfth Vermont Regiment and 
Governor of Vermont, 1880-82. 


An hour and a half after Duryea left Hampton, General 
Pierce marched from the same point with the Third New 
York regiment, Colonel Townsend, and an artillery company 
belonging to the Second New York Regiment with two field 
pieces. This force reached the junction of the roads shortly 
before daybreak, just as Bendix was taking position there. 
Bendix's force was seen by General Pierce and Colonel 
Townsend in the dim light; and taking it as a matter of 
course to be a part of the expedition they marched steadily 
on. Not so Bendix. Seeing the mounted men of General 
Pierce's staff at the head of the column, he took them and 
the shadowy mass behind to be a body of rebel cavalry, 
and opened on them at once with both musketry and 
artillery. 1 Twenty-one men of the Third New York fell by 
this fire, two being killed, and four officers and fifteen men 
wounded. Townsend's men, astonished by this reception, 
broke right and left from the road, down which Bendix w r as 
firing canister, into the fields, and thence returned for a few 
moments a scattering and ineffective fire. They soon 
regained some sort of formation, and were then withdrawn 
by General Pierce across New Market Bridge. They halted 
on the higher ground on the south side of the Branch, 3 and 
General Pierce, not doubting that they had encountered a 
considerable force of the enemy, despatched an aid to 
Hampton for reinforcements. 

When Bendix's unlucky and noisy blunder woke the 
early morning echoes, Duryea had reached Little Bethel, 
finding no enemy there, and his skirmishers, under Captain 
Judson Kilpatrick, had captured a picket post consisting of 

1 Colonel Bendix in his report says he gave no word to fire; but that 
his men probably fired first, as they were "not expecting friends from that 
quartero" General Butler says that the evidence is strong that Bendix 
gave the order to fire. 

2 General Pierce says in his report that this retrograde movement was 
intended " to draw the supposed enemy from their position." 


an officer and two or three men, within a mile or two of 
Big Bethel. 1 Washburn was about a mile behind Duryea. 
Each at once halted, and as the firing behind them kept up, 
supposing that their supports were attacked, each hurried 
back at double quick to their assistance. When Washburn 
reached the scene of action, the smoke still hung over the 
fields though the firing had ceased. Washburn marched 
past Bendix and formed his battalion between him and the 
supposed enemy. He placed a gun in the road, supported 
by two companies, sent a company of Massachusetts rifle- 
men into the woods on his left, and formed the rest of his 
force in the open field and across the road. As daylight 
broke, Townsend's regiment was discovered across the river ; 
and beginning to surmise that it might be a friendly force, 
Washburn ordered his men to shout " Boston." Keceiving 
no response he advanced his line, and was fired upon by 
one of Townsend's howitzers, without damage. About this 
time some haversacks marked with the number and initials 
of the Third New York, were picked up by some of the 
Vermonters, and the further discovery that a house near by 
contained nine wounded and dying men of that regiment left 
no longer a doubt that it had been a fight between friends. 
The intelligence was soon conveyed by Washburn's skir- 
mishers to Townsend's men. Duryea arrived about this 

1 It was supposed at the time that the Confederate outpost at Little 
Bethel had retreated to Big Bethel ; but the fact appears to be that there 
was no enemy at Little Bethel that night. None of the Confederate reports 
allude to any outpost at Little Bethel ; and the only Confederate force South 
of Big Bethel that night seems to have been a scouting party of two com- 
panics of cavalry and one of infantry under command of a Captain Werth, 
who states that he was at New Market Bridge, at 5 o'clock Sunday after- 
noon ; that with his glass he saw two forces, one from Hampton and one 
from Newport News, approach and fire into each other, near the Bridge 
and that ' ' at dusk' 5 he took up his march for Bethel Church, the enemy 
following hinio It is difficult to make these statements match the facts, as 
regards the times of day. 


time, and daylight having now fully come, the mistake and 
the situation became clear to all. 

Gen. Pierce now assumed chief command, and called a 
consultation. Colonels Washburn and Duryea advised a 
return to camp. They felt that the affair had made a bad 
start, and that no surprise of the enemy was now possible. 
They thought it probable that the force at Big Bethel would 
be either withdrawn or heavily reinforced from Yorktown ; 
and that with the failure of the movement against Little 
Bethel the expedition was properly at an end. Gen. Pierce, 
however, insisted that his orders required that a demonstra- 
tion be made against Big Bethel and accordingly ordered 
an advance to that point. Meantime the men had break- 
fasted, and at 7 o'clock the column again moved to the front, 
the Zouaves, as before, leading the advance. A short halt 
was made at Little Bethel, where, in obedience to instruc- 
tions, the meeting house was burned. Between 8 and 9 
o'clock, the column halted again, in sight of the Confederate 
works at Big Bethel. 

It is to be noted that thus far on each side there was ex- 
treme ignorance of the strength of the opposing forces. At 
3 o'clock that morning word, sent by a resident of Hampton, 
reached Magruder that a considerable federal force had 
marched out from Camp Hamilton. Probably supposing 
that it was a reconnoisance, and hoping to surprise and cut 
it off, Magruder immediately marched out to meet it, with 
six hundred men of the First North Carolina regiment and 
two howitzers. He had gone nearly to Little Bethel, when 
-\is scouts brought him such intelligence of the numbers of 
the Federals that he thought best to fall back in haste to his 
earthworks. Here he awaited attack. Stuart's and Monta- 
gue's battalions, which had just arrived from Yorktown, were 
posted so as to extend his line to his right, and had time to 
erect temporary breastworks, facing a ravine in their front. 


A howitzer was placed in front, across the creek, in the road, 
supported by a single company. 

On the other side Gen. Pierce had obtained from women 
in the farm houses and from contrabands, information that 
there was a force at Big Bethel, placed by the lowest estimate 
at four thousand, and by the highest at over twenty thousand. 
A reconnoissance by Captain Kilpatrick, commanding the 
advance guard of Duryea's regiment, brought him almost 
equally incorrect intelligence. Kilpatrick reported that 
he had " found the enemy with about from three thousand 
to five thousand men, posted in a strong position on the 
opposite side of the bridge, three earthworks, and a masked 
battery on the right and left, in advance of the stream thirty 
pieces of artillery and a large force of cavalry." 1 

General Pierce was much excited by these reports and 
was indiscreet enough to allow his trepidation to become ap- 
parent to all about him. He announced loudly that his 
scouts had brought him word that " the enemy had twenty 
guns in battery," dispatched an aid to Fortress Monroe for 
reinforcements, post haste, and gave other orders which indi- 
cated to all within hearing that he considered his command 
engaged in a desperate undertaking. 

These enormously exaggerated reports of the enemy's 
force, spreading rapidly through the ranks, were of course not 
cheering to the members of a force which numbered less 
than two thousand men, with four field pieces. The men, 
morever, were exceedingly weary. As unused to marching 
as to fighting, they had marched and countermarched for 
ten hours. Their ardor had been dampened by the unfor- 
tunate encounter of the night ; and they were now to attack 
intrenchments, under a General whom all knew to be as in- 
experienced as themselves, and whose present nervousness 
was painfully obvious. It is not surprising that most of 

1 Report of Captain Judson Kilpatrick. Vol. 2 of U. S. Official Records. 


tliem were willing to keep pretty closely under shelter of 
the woods, which skirted the road on either side, and at 
some points extended up to the marsh in front. 

The assault opened a little after 9 o'clock, and a desul- 
tory engagement of about four hours' duration followed. 
The four field pieces were taken to the front and stationed 
in the road leading to the bridge, and were subsequently 
advanced to within two hundred yards of the enemy's main 
work. They maintained, under the direction of Lieutenant 
Greble, a spirited fire, as long as their ammunition lasted. 
Duryea's regiment was first stationed in the woods on the 
right of the road and was then moved to the open ground on 
the left of the road. Two companies of the First Yermont, 
(Captain Eipley's and Captain Peck's) were detached from 
Washburn's battalion, and sent into the woods on the left 
of Duryea, to protect his flank. They were shelled by the 
enemy; but suffered no loss and did no firing. Duryea 
made several advances towards the works in front ; but w^as 
prevented from charging them by the creek, which was sup- 
posed to be non-fordable, and contented himself with main- 
taining an ineffective musketry fire. He had six men killed 
and thirteen wounded the largest loss sustained by any 
regiment from the enemy's fire. 

Townsend was sent to the left of Duryea, with directions 
to advance upon, and if practicable, assault the right of the 
enemy's position. The movement was destined to failure, for 
the creek was considerably wider at that point than below, 
and he could not have reached the rear of the enemy's right, 
except by a long detour. It reached a sudden termination, 
by a blunder similar to that of Bendix the night before, 
though less excusable because made in broad day light. As 
his regiment, in line of battle, was closing up on his skirmish- 
ers, his left company became separated from the line by a 
farm ditch, skirted by a line of bushes. Seeing the bayonets 
of the company over the bushes, Townsend took them for a 


hostile force on his flank, and hastily marched his regiment 
back to his former position. 

The final and really the only formidable assault on the 
works was made by Colonel Washburn. Shortly before 
noon, he was directed by General Pierce to take his battalion 
round through the woods to his right and attack the left of 
the enemy's works. His command had been lessened nearly 
one half by the detaching of companies to act as skirmishers 
in other parts of the field, and consisted of six companies, 
mustering less than 300 muskets. With these he marched 
for some distance through a piece of tangled woods, twice 
coming out to the open ground in sight of the enemy's bat- 
teries, only to find that a further detour was necessary in 
order to bring him fairly on their left. Reaching finally a 
point from which he thought the works could be approached, 
he found a dry ditch, dug for a drain, leading towards the 
creek. Through this he took his men for some distance. 
Then, leaving this cover, lie pushed straight across the 
marsh bordering the creek, leading the column himself, the 
men shouting : " Follow the Colonel !" The creek was found 
to be a dark and apparently deep stream ; but the men took 
it without hesitation, and found it fordable. Holding up 
their cartridge boxes from the water, there about waist deep, 
they went through it, and straight forward across the open 
marsh beyond till Washburn found before him a wooded 
ridge ten or twelve feet high, under the cover of which 
he deployed his command. Thus far not a shot had been 
fired at them, awl their approach was apparently unobserved 
by the enemy. 1 

1 Colonel D. H. Hill in his report says: " Those in advance [of the 
Federal column] had put on our distinctive badge of a white band round 
the cap, and cried out repeatedly, * don't fire.' This ruse was practiced to 
enable the whole column to get over the creek and form hi good order." 
This was ot so. The men wore no white bands, and if any one said, 
" don't fire," it was some officer restraining his own men till they should 
ft Vbe order to fire. 


A brief examination, made by Captain Pelton from the 
top of the ridge, disclosed the enemy's works in full view, 
perhaps ten rods distant, rifle pits and parapet being thickly 
lined with troops. Washburn at once ordered his command 
to the top of the bank, and announced his presence by a fire of 
musketry, so sharp and continuous that for twenty minutes 
hardly a man of the enemy ventured to show his head above 
the breastworks. The reports of the Confederate officers 
show that the entire loss received on their side during the 
battle stated by them to have been but one man killed, 
nine wounded, and eight artillery horses killed or disabled 
was from this fire. 

After the firing began, about sixty of Bendix's Germans 
joined Washburn's line. With this exception, no supports 
were sent to him, although General Pierce had now been 
reinforced by the First New York Regiment, Colonel Allen, 
which had been sent up from Hampton by General Butler. 
Morever the demonstrations against the enemy's front and 
right, instead of being more vigorously pushed, now 
wholly ceased. General Magruder was thus enabled to 
strengthen his left by troops and guns brought from other 
parts of his lines ; and soon in addition to the thickening 
patter of bullets, shell and grape began to rattle through the 
trees above the heads of Washburn's men. About this time 
a bugle across the creek sounded a retreat, and Washburn 
ordered his men to cease firing. He perceived that not a 
musket was being fired in any other part of the field, and 
that the attack had apparently ended, so far as any command 
but his own was concerned. Obeying the recall, he with- 
drew his command. He retired slowly across the low ground, 
re-forded the creek, halted in the woods to collect the 
stragglers, and then marched back to his first position on 
the left of the main road, to find that a general retreat had 
been ordered. The Zouaves were already out of sight, 
and Townsend's regiment was following them on the double 



\ i 

* / SSK. ei, , 


* ? Cfc3S^^~ 

^;f life^^l 


1^- a-,: 






quick. Eeporting to General Pierce for orders, Colonel 
Washburn was informed that the attempt to take Big Bethel 
was abandoned ; and that the Second New York Kegiment, 
which had just arrived from Hampton, would cover the 
rear. Colonel Washburn waited till the wounded men had 
been placed in wagons' and taken off, and till the artillery 
had been withdrawn; and then, in good order, and with 
every man of his command in the ranks, except six, two 
of whom were killed 1 , three wounded and one missing, 
took his place in the retiring column. 

The march up to Big Bethel, in the cool of the night 
and morning, in the excitement of a first march into battle, 
and in the confidence of victory, had been a not unpleasant 
experience. The return, in the dust and heat of a Southern 
summer day, in the exhaustion of hunger and the depression 
of defeat, was a different thing. The weary tramp of twelve 
miles was relieved only by the thoughtfulness of Colonel 
Phelps, who sent out wagons loaded with hard bread and 
smoked herring to meet the hungry troops. The regiments 
reached their quarters at Newport News and Camp Hamil- 
ton, about six o'clock, tired, footsore and disgusted, the Ver- 
mont and Massachusetts companies, however, feeling that 
none of the mistakes of the expedition were to be laid at 
their door or that of their immediate commander. 

A few incidents of this affair are worthy of mention. 
Soon after Washburn's battalion opened fire on the enemy's 
left, a stranger joined the ranks of the Northfield company, 
and taking a musket from a soldier, began firing rapidly. 
When the order to cease firing came, he stepped forward, as 
did others, on the top of the bank, to give the enemy a 
parting shot. As he fired, a ball struck him in the left 
breast. Privates D. E. Boyden and John M. Stone of the 
Northfield Company caught him as he fell and bore him to 

1 The killed were not Vermonters. 


the foot of the ridge, when he expired without word or groan. 
Boyden and Stone opened his blouse, discovered from his 
uniform that he was an officer and then followed their 
company across the creek. The next day an order read at 
dress parade announced that Major Theodore Winthrop, 
of General Butler's staff, was missing, and called for 
information concerning him. The description thereupon 
given by Boyden and Stone of the man who expired in 
their arms, left no doubt that it was Winthrop. A flag 
of truce sent by General Butler to Big Bethel next day 
learned that Winthrop's body had been buried where he fell. 1 
It was subsequently disinterred and restored to his friends. 

When the Woodstock Company started back across the 
creek, Private Eeuben M. Parker, seeing Winthrop's body 
and supposing it to be that of a wounded man, returned to 
assist him. While thus separated from the battalion, he was 
surrounded and captured by a squad of the enemy. He was 
taken to Yorktown and thence to Richmond, where ten days 
later he was exchanged and rejoined his company. He 
always claimed that he was the first prisoner formally ex- 
changed in the war. His observations while within the rebel 
works at Big Bethel, satisfied him that the enemy's loss was 
considerably larger than was reported or ever acknowledged 
by them. 

The loss of Lieutenant Greble was only less mourned 
than that of Winthrop. He was killed by a piece of a 
shrapnell shell, fired at the last discharge but one from the 
redoubt, which struck him in the head, taking off part of the 
skull. Two artillerists were killed by the same shell. 

As the Yermont companies halted near Little Bethel in 
the early morning, a man stepped out of a house near the 
road and fired upon the column with a rifle, the ball passing 

1 Various conflicting accounts of Major Winthrop's death have been 
given. This account is derived from Mr. Boyden, whose intelligence and 
accuracy are undoubted. 


through the clothes of Sergeant Sweet, of the Woodstock 
company. A squad rushed for the bushwhacker and he was 
speedily captured, and Lieutenant Hiram Stevens, the tall 
Adjutant of the First Vermont, who had accompanied the 
battalion, administered to him on the spot the rather 
unmilitary punishment of a kicking. He proved to be an 
officer of a Virginia militia regiment, named Whiting, 
His house, with its contents, was burned, Stevens and 
Colonel Duryea, who came up at the time, applying the 
match. Later in the war bushwhacking often received a 
severer, if not more summary punishment. 

Upon the retreat from Big Bethel, three companies of 
Confederate cavalry followed the rear of the Federal column, 
at a safe distance, as far as New Market Bridge. Magruder 
was reinforced by the arrival of a Louisiana regiment about 
the close of the action ; but fearing a return of the Federal 
troops in stronger force, he evacuated the works at Big 
Bethel that night and withdrew his command to Yorktown. 

Keviewing this action, it is to be noted that the enemy 
was commanded by trained and experienced officers ; that the 
disparity in numbers, which for the first three hours of the 
fight, was less than 500, was more than made up to the con- 
federates by the protection of their works and superiority in 
artillery ; and that while they were entitled to the credit of 
repulsing superior numbers, they inflicted astonishingly little 
damage upon their assailants. The union loss was but 16 
killed and 34 wounded by the enemy's fire. 1 

On the union side, the primal blunder was General 
Butler's, in committing a force not an officer of which had 
ever been under fire, to the command of a man without ex- 

1 An eye witness of the fight, a member of the First Vermont, said in a 
published letter- " Their shots as a rule went over. During the last of the 
engagement, the rebels would not even put their heads above their works. 
They merely held their guns up in their hands and fired at random." 


perience or the natural qualities fitting him for command. 
After this all the other blunders became easy. 1 

The risky operation of marching raw troops, by night 
and by different roads, to a common point, was disapproved 
by Colonel Phelps ; and when the firing near New Market 
Bridge was heard at Newport News, he said that it was a 
collision between portions of the federal force. Colonel 
Phelps also disapproved the making up of the column from 
Newport News by detachments from different regiments. 2 
Had Phelps been in chief command at Big Bethel, it is 
altogether probable that he would not have accepted the 
statements of Virginia women, or Kilpatrick's crazy guesses, as 
the measure of the rebel force ; that he would not have at- 
tempted to carry by direct assault, works well armed with 
artillery, and strengthened by morasses, ravines, and a 
natural moat ; and that he would have made a different story 
of Big Bethel. As it was the whole affair was a series of 
blunders, redeemed only by the general good behavior of the 
troops. To Washburn's coolness and courage, there is 
ample testimony from both friends and strangers. His own 
opinion of the affair was thus expressed, in a private letter, 
written two days after the battle : " My men behaved like 
veterans. Not a man of my command flinched, or hesitated 
to go where I ordered him. If I had been supported, I 
would have charged, and I believe I could have carried the 
works. But I had no support. We had no head. I was not 
notified of the order to retreat, and was left to fight alone 
with my slender force against the entire force of the enemy ; 

1 General Pierce retired to private life at the expiration of his three 
months' term, shortly after this battle. He subsequently enlisted in a Mas- 
sachusetts regiment and made a good record in a more subordinate capac- 

2 It was related by correspondents of the Vermont papers at the time, 
that on the return of the Vermont companies to camp Colonel Phelps 
said: " When the Vermont Boys go out again, they will all go together 
and I'll command them." 


and when I ceased firing I was three quarters of a mile from 
the point where I first formed. All the 

different commands behaved nobly : but there was no recon- 
noissance, no plan of attack, and no concert of action. 
Hence the enemy were left to concentrate their whole force 
first against the Zouaves, then against Townsend's regiment, 
then against my men. A little military skill in the General, 
a little regard to the simplest rules of attack, would have 
rendered our charge successful. As it was, it was a failure 
an egregious blunder." This opinion will stand with that of 
a Massachusetts officer, 1 that " if other troops had done their 
duty as well and gone as far as those from Massachusetts 
and Vermont, the name of Big Bethel would not have headed 
a long list of federal repulses." 2 

The remaining service of the First Yermont was compa- 
ratively uneventful. 

On the 16th of June a scouting party, consisting of the 
St. Albans, Cavendish and Brandon Companies under Major 
Worthen, went out some six miles and brought in a drove 
of cattle, the property of secessionists. "While out they were 
fired on by a rebel cavalry picket, and three men were slight- 
ly wounded with buckshot. The rebels beat a rapid retreat 
and the fire of their shot guns was not returned. 

On the 22d of June, Private D. H. Whitney of the Wood- 
stock company, in company with Lieutenant Becker of 
the Seventh New York Kegiment, mounted on mules, left 
camp, unarmed, and contrary to orders. About five miles out 
from camp they were fired on by rebel scouts or bush- 
whackers. Becker's mule was wounded with buckshot and 

1 Adjutant Walker of the Fourth Massachusetts, quoted in Schouler's 
" History of Massachusetts in the Civil War." 

2 In a statement published by General Pierce after his return to Massa- 
chusetts, he said . " I think had the enemy's right and centre been as 
vigorously assailed by the New York troops as was their left by the 
Massachusetts and Vermont, we might at least have entered the battery 
though perhaps only to have been driven out." 


threw him, when he crawled into the woods and made his 
way back to camp. A foraging party soon after found 
and brought in the dead body of Whitney, found lying in 
the road, riddled with buckshot. He was the only member 
of the First Vermont killed by the enemy. 

The next day a report brought by two deserters from a 
Louisiana Zouave regiment, that a heavy force was on its 
way from Yorktown to attack Newport News occasioned 
active preparations to resist an assault, and hopes that 
an opportunity would be afforded to square accounts for the 
reverse at Big Bethel ; but it proved to be a false report. 

On the 26th, Sergeant Henry Bennett of the Middle- 
bury company, the color sergeant of the regiment, a fine 
soldier who left Middlebury college to fight for the flag, died 
of typhoid fever in hospital at Fortress Monroe. His body 
was sent to Vermont. 

The general health of the regiment was good throughout 
its term of service. The measles ran through it as through 
all the regiments that followed it, and there was some ma- 
larial fever; but there was surprisingly little dangerous ill- 
ness, and no greater mortality than among the same num- 
ber of men at home. One man, Whitney of Company B, 
was killed by bushwhackers. Three, Sergeant Bennett of 
Company I, and Privates Underwood and Lougee of Com- 
pany D, died of disease. Four were discharged for disabili- 
ties. One man deserted while the regiment was passing 
through New York. Another obtained a furlough, went to 
Vermont and did not return. From the rolls of the Bran- 
don, Burlington, Cavendish and St. Albans companies not 
a man was dropped for any cause. Not a death occurred at 
Newport News. On the whole it may be doubted if any 
regiment in the service throughout the war had a better 
time than did the First Vermont. There was at first the 
usual complaining over army rations among the men, Vho 
did not take kindly to army bread and salt beef. This was 


more heeded at home than was the case subsequently, 
and the Governor despatched his agent, Mr. William B. 
Hatch, to Fortress Monroe, to inquire into the needs of 
the soldiers and if necessary to supply them. But as the 
season advanced, and supplies of fresh meat and vegetables 
were obtainable and "boxes" arrived from home, 1 these 
complaints ceased. 

There was a good deal of scolding about the Surgeon, 
Dr. Sanborn, who was not very popular with the men, and 
charges of drunkenness and neglect of the sick were made 
against him in the Vermont papers and supported by affi- 
davits. These charges were denied in published certificates 
by Colonel Phelps and Lieutenant Colonel Washburn. 2 

But these minor troubles were merely ripples on the sur- 
face of an experience in the main astonishingly free from 
hardship and suffering. The men made themselves exceed- 
ingly comfortable in their camp at Newport News. They 
built porches to their tents and awnings of boughs over their 
company streets. They fished and foraged. They had sea 
breezes and sea bathing. Withal they had constant and 
thorough instruction in the duties of the soldier, till the First 
became one of the best drilled regiments in the army, as 
well as a model of obedience, order and efficiency. General 
Phelps, though he had crack regiments of other states 
under him, was especially proud of his Vermonters, and 

* The friends of the members of the regiments at home, and all the 
people of the State made the comfort of the soldiers their care, to an extent 
not paralleled in the case of any other regiment. As the weather became 
hot, hundreds of "havelocks" were made by the women and sent to them. 
It being understood that their clothing was suffering from the wear and 
tear of fatigue duty, the women offered to make overalls for the entire 
regiment if the State would furnish the cloth, and the matter of so doing 
was seriously considered by the State authorities. The supplies of good 
things to eat, sent from Vermont, amounted to many tons in weight. 

2 Dr. Sanborn was subsequently appointed Surgeon of the 31st Massa- 
chusetts, and died at Ship Island, in the Gulf, in April 1862. 


declared after they left that he greatly missed the influence 
of their example on the other regiments of his command. 1 
He said, in a letter to Colonel Washburn that it was "a 
regiment, the like of which will not soon be seen again ;" 
and the men returned his good opinion of them with un- 
bounded respect and esteem. 

The term of the regiment expired on the 2d of August. 
On the 4th it embarked with its arms and tents, at Newport 
News, on the steamers Ben de Ford and R. S. Spaulding. 
These sailed from Fortress Monroe on the 5th, direct for 
New Haven, where they arrived after a voyage of forty 
hours. The regiment took the train at once for P rattle - 
boro. At Springfield, Massachusetts, it was lunched and re- 
freshed with coffee by the citizens. It arrived at Brattle- 
boro at midnight of the 7th. The citizens of the town had 
planned an impromptu reception, with music and torchlights; 
but it was not thought best to go into camp at that hour, 
and the men spent the night in the cars. The next morn- 
ing they pitched camp on the Fair ground at Brattleboro. 

But a single man of the regiment was left behind at 
Fortress Monroe. This was one of the Woodstock company 
who was suffering from a fracture of the skull, received by a 
fall from the second story window of the General Hospital at 
Fortress Monroe. Seventeen sick men embarked with the 
rest, took the journey home with safety, and were placed 
after the arrival at Brattleboro in a temporary hospital 
arranged for them in the upper story of the Brattleboro 
House. One of these, Private Tabor, of St. Albans, died 
before the regiment left. Of the 782 officers and men of the 
First that went to Virginia all but five returned to Vermont. 

The regiment remained at " Camp Phelps/' in Brattle- 
boro, for eight days. It was reviewed , August 8th, by Gov- 

1 Colonel Phelps was promoted to be Brigadier General about the time 
the regiment left Newport News ; and remained in command of that post 
after its departure. 


ernor Fairbanks, and battalion and company drills were kept 
up regularly till the 15th, on which day and the day follow- 
ing, the regiment was paid off by Major Thomas H. Halsey 
his first service as U. S. Paymaster and mustered out of 
the service by Lieutenant W. "W. Chamberlain, 14th U. S. 
Infantry. At 6 o'clock on the afternoon of the 16th, the 
regiment left Brattleboro, by train. The companies arrived 
at their homes that night or the next morning and received 
rousing welcomes from the citizens of their respective towns. 
The term of service of the regiment from the date of the 
selection of the several companies to the final disbandment, 
lacked four days of four months. 1 Of course this did not 
end the service of the members of a regiment composed of 
such material. And the record of the First Yermont cannot 
better close than with mention of the facts that the field, 
staff and line officers of the regiment returned to the service 
almost to a man ; that no less than one hundred and sixty- 
one, of its members became field and line officers of the 
Yermont regiments and batteries subsequently organized, to 
which they took the careful drill and soldierly spirit and 
regard for discipline and order, which they had learned 
under Phelps and Washburn, and that a number received 
commissions in the service of other States or of the United 
States, making a total of two hundred and fifty who sub- 
sequently held commissions ; and that of the 753 of its rank 
and file, over six hundred, or five out of every six, re-entered 
the service for three years. 2 

1 The officers and men were paid by the goverment from the 20th of 
April the day after the first meeting of the militia company commanders, 
to select the companies to the 15th of August. 

5 Adjutant General Washburn. 



Organization of the Regiment Sketches of its Field and Staff Departure 
for the War Receptions on the Way Arrival in Washington Move- 
ment into Virginia Brigaded under Colonel Howard Campaign and 
Battle of Bull Run List of Killed and Wounded Part Taken by 
other Vermonters Return to Bush Hill Disaffection towards 
Colonel Whiting A case of Discipline Removal to Camp Lyon 
Building Forts Reconnoissances a Night Collision Camp Griffin 
Hardships and Suffering Brigaded with First Vermont Brigade. 

The Second Regiment of Volunteers placed in the field 
by Vermont was a notable regiment. The first of the three 
years regiments, it was longer in the service than any other 
Vermont organization except one. 1 It had a share in almost 
every battle fought by the Army of the Potomac, from the 
first Bull Run to the surrender of Lee ; and its quality as a 
fighting regiment is indicated by the fact that its list of 
killed and wounded in action numbered no less than 751, or 
forty per cent of its aggregate of 1858 officers and men ; 
while its ratio of killed and mortally wounded was more than 
eight times the general ratio of killed and mortally wounded 
in the Union army. 

In its original composition the Second was a picked 
regiment, the companies forming it being selected by Ad- 
jutant and Inspector General Baxter from about sixty com- 
panies, which tendered their services to the State for the 

1 The Seventh Regiment, which was retained on duty in the Depart- 
ment of the Gulf for nearly a year after the close of the war. 


war in the early days of May 1861. The ten companies 
accepted for the Second were recruited in the towns of Ben- 
nington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Castleton, Fletcher, Lud- 
low, Montpelier, Tunbridge, Yergennes and Waterbury, in the 
nine counties of Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Franklin, 
Orange, Kutland, "Washington, Windham and Windsor, thus 
representing the State at large as fully as any regiment re- 
cruited during the war. 1 

It being deemed all important to secure for the com- 
mand of the regiment an officer of military education and 
experience, the Colonolcy was first tendered by Governor 
Fairbanks, by telegraph, to Colonel Israel 33. Eichardson of 
Michigan, a gallant son of Vermont who had won fame and 
rank in the regular army in the Mexican war. But Colonel 
Richardson had just accepted the command of the First 
Michigan Regiment. In declining the offer he recommended 
to Governor Fairbanks, as well fitted for command, Ex- 
Lieutenant Henry Whiting, Fifth U. S. Infantry, who had 
been his classmate at West Point, and was then living at St. 
Clair, Michigan. 

Lieutenant Whiting, who had offered his services to the 
Governor of Michigan a little too late to receive an appoint- 
ment to command one of the regiments which that State 
was raising, was thereupon summoned to St. Johnsbury by 
Governor Fairbanks and immediately commissioned, on the 
6th of June, 1861, as Colonel. Whiting was a native of 
Bath, Steuben County, N. Y. He was appointed, from that 
State, to the U. S. Military Academy and graduated in 1841, 
standing No. 17 in a class of 41, of which George H. Thomas, 
Israel B. Bichardson and other distinguished officers were 
members. He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant, Fifth 

1 A company of Irish Americans, recruited in Burlington and Colches- 
ter, was among those originally accepted ; but being found deficient in 
number and discipline was disbanded by order of the Governor and the 
Yergennes company took its place. 


U. S. Infantry, and served five years on the Northwestern 
frontier. In the fall of 1845, war with Mexico being immi- 
nent, he was ordered to the Southern frontier. In February, 
1846, at Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, just before the U. S. 
Army crossed the Eio Grande, Lieutenant Whiting resigned 
his commission. Having married in Michigan, while stationed 
there, he returned thither and settled at St. Clair, in the 
lumber business, and was so engaged when the war broke 
out. He was, at that time, one of the Board of Eegents of 
Michigan University. 

George J. Stannard of St. Albans, was appointed 
Lieutenant Colonel. Though without military education he 
had already shown strong military tastes. He had been 
active in the reorganization of the militia, and had attracted 
notice as one of the best officers of one of the best militia 
companies, the Eansom Guard, of St. Albans. For two years 
he had been Colonel of the Fourth Eegiment of State Militia, 
and he had, as the pages of this history abundantly show, 
every instinct and quality of a gallant soldier and a suc- 
cessful commander. 

Charles H. Joyce, a young lawyer of Northfield, who six 
months before had been elected Colonel of the First Eegi- 
ment of State Militia, 1 was appointed Major. 

The staff was of remarkable excellence. Quartermaster 
Perley P. Pitkin, of Montpelier, was one of the best that 
any regiment ever had. His merit was subsequently recog- 
nized by promotion to a Colonelcy in the Quartermaster's 
Department, and by such trusts as the charge of the main 
base of supplies for the Army of the Potomac. Surgeon 
N. H. Ballou, of Burlington, was an experienced and skillful 
physician. Assistant Surgeon B. W. Carpenter, of Burling- 
ton, was one of the most capable and promising young 
physicians in the State. Guilford S. Ladd (of Bennington) 

1 Major Joyce subsequently represented the First Vermont District, in 
the Forty-fourth, Forty-fifth, Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Congresses. 


was Adjutant, and Kev. Claudius B. Smith, a Baptist clergy- 
man, Principal of the " Literary and Scientific Institute" of 
Brandon, was appointed Chaplain. Among the line officers 
were Captains J. H. Walbridge of Bennington, subsequently 
the second Colonel of the regiment, F. V. Eandall of Mont- 
pelier, subsequently Colonel of the Thirteenth and Seven- 
teenth regiments ; Y. S. Fullam of Ludlow, afterwards 
Lieutenant Colonel of the Seventh : James Hope, the land- 
scape painter, of Castleton; Charles Dillingham of Water- 
bury, subsequently Lieutenant Colonel of the Eighth Ver- 
mont ; Lieutenants Newton Stone, John S. Tyler and A. S. 
Tracy, who became in succession colonels of the Second; 
Enoch E. Johnson, under whom, as Lieutenant Colonel, the 
last of the regiment came home in July, 1865, and other 
subsequently well known officers. 

The uniforms of the regiment were made in Vermont, of 
cloth of Vermont manufacture ] the State providing uniforms 
for the officers as well as men and consisted of a frock coat, 
pantaloons and cap of gray " doeskin," with blue cord. A full 
regimental band of twenty-four brass pieces was provided. 2 

The companies rendezvoused at Burlington, on the 6th 
of June, and went into camp, called " Camp Underwood" in 
honor of Lieutenant Governor Underwood, on the Eair 
ground, North of the village, in new A tents. The men 
underwent a rigid inspection, by Lieutenant Colonel Kains, 
U. S. A., which occupied several days. On the 12th of June, 
the oath of allegiance was administered to the officers and 
men by U. S. District Judge Smalley. A single recruit, whose 
heart failed him, refused to take the oath, and was summarily 
drummed out of camp by the other members of the company 
to which he had belonged. On the 19th the arms arrived 
and were distributed, and somewhat to the disappointment 

1 Manufactured by Merrill & Co. , of Reading, Vt. 
5 The Bennington Band, F. M. Crossett, Captain. 


of the men, proved to be smooth-bore muskets of the Spring- 
field pattern of 1842 an excellent arm, but not the rifled 
muskets they had been expecting. Eifles enough to arm a 
single company (Company A) were obtained; and the 
smooth bores were all subsequently exchanged for rifled 
muskets. The regiment was an object of much attention 
during the two weeks of its stay in the State. Excursion 
trains brought visitors by thousands to the camp ; the women 
of various towns provided the men with havelocks and 
towels, and supplied the entire outfit of linen, lint and ban- 
dages for the regimental hospital ; the Yermont Bible Society 
distributed testaments to the entire regiment, and St. Paul's 
Church, of Burlington, gave prayer books to all who desired 
them. ' 

On the 20th of June the regiment was mustered into the 
service by Lieutenant Colonel Rains, 2 was reviewed by the 
Governor, and received its U. S. standard, which was pre- 
sented by Governor Fairbanks, and was placed in charge of 
Color-Sergeant Ephraim Harrington of Company G, a man 
of gigantic stature, measuring six feet four inches in his 
stockings, by whom it was bravely borne for two years. 3 

On Monday morning, June 24th, under orders to report 
at Washington, the regiment broke camp, marching out at 
the hour set (7 A. M.,) to a minute. As it swept through the 
streets of Burlington, in column by company, the gray ranks 

1 The Montpelier company received a handsome flag from the ladies of 
that town, which was presented at Camp Underwood, by Rev. Dr. William 
H. Lord, and other companies were remembered by citizens of their 
respective towns in various ways. 

2 Rains was a melancholy man in those days. "There can be no 
better material for soldiers," he said one day to the writer of this history, 
as they watched the regiment at dress parade. "These men are going 
to fight. The Southerners, too, will fight hard and how the blood will 


3 Sergeant Harrington served through the war without a wound, and home a captain in July, 1865. 


filling the street from curbstone to curbstone, it formed a 
stirring spectacle. Every man bore in his cap the Green 
Mountain Boy's badge, the sprig of evergreen, and no finer 
or more effective looking regiment was seen during the 
war. It numbered 868 officers and men. Five men were 
left in hospital. A train of twenty four cars, drawn by 
two locomotives, bore the regiment to Troy, N. Y. Here 
a concourse of many thousands greeted the troops at 
the Kailroad Station, and committees appointed by the 
" Sons of Vermont" of Troy, took them in charge. The offi- 
cers were entertained at private houses, an ample collation 
was provided for the men in the Hailroad depot, and General 
Wool reviewed the regiment, before its departure. In New 
York, where the regiment arrived next morning, another en- 
thusiastic reception took place, one feature of which was the 
presentation, in a ringing speech by Hon. E. D. Culver of 
Brooklyn, of a beautiful regimental standard, the gift of the 
Sons of Vermont in New York. 1 The regiment was also 
addressed by ex-Governor Hiland Hall and U. S. Senator 
Foot of Vermont. The regiment was quartered in the Park 
barracks, during its stay of seven or eight hours in the city. 
On its way to the Jersey City Ferry, in the afternoon, multi- 
tudes of citizens lined the streets and greeted the Vermonters 
with cheers and offerings of flowers. 2 The New York papers, 

1 The Vermontcrs in New York had organized for the occasion, as fol- 
lows : Hon. E. W. Stoughton, President; Geo. Folsom, Esq., and Hon. D. 
E. Wheeler, Vice-Presidents ; C. L. Benedict, Esq., Secretary, and B. Mur- 
ray, Esq., Treasurer. Reception Committee: Major John A. Pullen, Rev. 
E. H. Chapin, Geo. E. Rogers, H. F. Spaulding, Wm. B. Hatch, Horace 
Greene, D. A. Heald, Leslie Baxter, Warren Leland, C. W. Prentiss, C. P. 
Peck, Edgar Starr, George Curtis, Seth B. Hunt, J. R. Spaulding, Geo. Fol- 
som, Jno. Bradley ; also, representing Brooktyn, Wm. Weston, C. L. Bene- 
dict, H. A. Johnston. Committee to present colors : B. Murray, Jr., E. A. 
Stoughton, S. S. Scott, A. M. Lyon, Wm. C. Conant, J. H. Eldridge, Peter 
Starr, Rev. E. H. Chapin. Committee on badges: C. L. Benedict, Alderman 
Mott, C. P. Peck. The badge selected was a sprig of Hemlock. 

2 Among these was a basket with the following note : " Will the Colo- 
nel of the Second Vermont Regiment please accept for his regiment the 


which as a rule had only good words for the Green Mountain 
boys throughout the war, were especially complimentary. * 

The regiment passed through Philadelphia at midnight 
of the 25th, receiving the cordial Philadelphian greeting and 
refreshment, which so many soldiers learned to be grateful 
for, in the following years. It marched, with loaded mus- 
kets, through Baltimore, and reached Washington on the 
morning of the 26th and went into camp on Capitol Hill, 
three fourths of a mile east of the Capitol. Fourteen regi- 
ments were then in camp there. a 

During the two weeks of its stay on Capitol Hill the re- 
giment was occupied with daily drills. 

The movements preliminary to the first great battle of 
the war were now in progress. Alexandria and Arlington 
Heights had been occupied by the Union forces, and Gen- 
eral Scott was organizing the army which under General 
McDowell was to move against Manassas, where General 
Beauregard had an army of nearly twenty thousand. From 
the 1st to the 15th of July the regiments which were to form 
McDowell's column were moving across the Potomac, and 
encamping around Alexandria and on Arlington Heights in a 
gradually widening circle. The Second Vermont was or- 
dered into Virginia on the 10th of July. It went by steamer 

accompanying basket of evergreens, from a Vermont lady, who has trimmed 
them with the scissors with which her mother, Millicent Barrett, cut the 
papers for the first cartridges that were used at Concord, Mass., and Bun- 
ker Hill, in 1775." 

'The following from the N. Y. Herald, of June 26th, is one of many 
similar paragraphs : " The First regiment of Vermont have already figured 
with honor to themselves on the battlefield, and it is evident from the phy- 
sique and general cut of the Second, that they will not be second to the first 
on the field of action. All the staff officers of this fine regiment appear to 
be highly educated men, who know exactly how to prosecute the work in 
which they are about to engage. The men are nearly all six footers." 

2 One of these, the 8th Minnesota, had in its ranks, by actual count, 
170 native Vermonters, being one sixth its entire number. 


to Alexandria, and thence by rail to Bush Hill, five miles West 
of Alexandria. Here, at a point in advance of any troops in 
that vicinity, it went into camp, on the handsome place of 
Commodore Forrest, then in the confederate service. Next 
day a detachment of three companies, under Major Joyce, 
was thrown out to the bridge at Springfield, about five miles 
from Fairfax Court House. A day or two later, the Third, 
Fourth and Fifth Maine regiments having arrived at Bush 
Hill, the Yermont Second was brigaded with them, under 
command of Colonel O. O. Howard, of the Third Maine. 
The regiment remained here, till it started on the brief 
campaign of Bull Eun. 


On the 16th of July, the largest army ever collected on 
the American continent, began moving to the front. It was 
in five divisions under Generals Tyler, Hunter, Heintzleman, 
Eunyon and Colonel D. S. Miles. Howard's Brigade was 
the third of Heintzleman's Division, the first and second 
brigades being commanded by Colonels W. B. Franklin and 
O. B. Wilcox. One division (Eunyon's) remained back to 
guard the communications. The other four numbering all 
told 28,000 men, with 49 guns marched to the West by as 
many roads. Heintzleman's division moved on the extreme 
left, by the country road running on the south of and parallel 
with the Orange and Alexandria Eailroad, the Second Ver- 
mont bringing up the rear of the column. Colonel Whit- 
ing and his field and staff officers were as yet without horses 
and marched on foot with the men. 1 

The march of the division was delayed by the burning 
of bridges, and by other obstructions. A stream was crossed 

1 Major Joyce bought a horse on the way to Bull Run, and was the only 
mounted officer, on the march out and back. Horses for the field officers 
were subsequently sent from Yermont. 


on a single string-piece of hewn timber ; and it was after mid- 
night before the regiment stopped for a short rest. After 
three hours sleep, the men were roused, and at 8 o'clock of 
the 17th were again moving. The brigade camped that night 
near Sangstei's Station (two miles south of Fairfax Station) 
where some provisions left by an Alabama regiment in its 
hastily abandoned camp afforded supplies to the men, whose 
three da} s' rations had already begun to give out, under the 
wasteful ways of new troops. The three confederate brigades 
stationed at Fairfax Court House, Fairfax Station and Cen- 
treville fell back without show of resistance, and General 
McDowell established his headquarters at Fairfax Court 
House that night. 

During the next day, Howard's brigade rested, though 
stirred during the afternoon by the booming of Tyler's and 
Richardson's guns in the premature and inconclusive fight at 
Blackburn's Ford the first sounds of battle that had ever 
reached the ears of most of the men. At 5 p. M., the brigade 
moved and marched five or six miles to a point on the 
Braddock Eoad, two miles east of Centreville, around which 
place the army encamped that night. Here General 
McDowell waited two days to reconnoitre, and ration his 
army a delay which was one of the chief causes of the first 
great Union defeat, as it gave the enemy just the time 
needed for Johnston to reinforce Beauregard with the army 
of the Shenandoah. The rest, however, was very grateful to 
the men, who had felt severely their three days of marching 
and standing to arms. Rations were scanty in the camp of 
the Second and the men eked them out by foraging for honey 
and chickens in the surrounding farmyards. 

The terrain of the coming battle is too familiar to need 
description. The historic stream of Bull Run, whose abrupt 
banks made it a formidable military obstacle, runs in a 
general course from north to south. Crossing this at right 
angles by a stone arch the famous " Stone Bridge" so prom- 


inent in all accounts of the battle ran the "Warrenton 
Turnpike, the broad macadamized road way which was to be 
such a thoroughfare of armies in the four years to come. 
Along the right bank of Bull Eun General Beauregard 
had disposed his army, now numbering 22,000 men and 29' 
guns. It was swelled by the arrival of Johnston and the^ 
Confederate army of the Shenandoah, during the battle y 
to 32,000 men and 59 guns. 

General McDowell's original plan was to make his main 
assault upon the Confederate right, and he had complimented 
Heintzleman's division by selecting it to turn the enemy's 
right and make the leading attack, and had placed it on 
his own left for that purpose. But inspection of the 
ground led him to change his plan ; and on Thursday night 
he announced to his division commanders his purpose to 
turn the enemy's left instead of his right. Heintzleman's 
division was still to share in the main attack, and was 
accordingly moved from the extreme left to the right. 
The order of battle directed Hunter and Heintzleman 
to move in the latter part of the night and cool of the early 
morning, cross Bull Eun at the unguarded ford of Suclley 
Springs, two miles North of the Stone Bridge, and surprise 
and roll back the Confederate left. Tyler was then to cross 
at the Stone Bridge and complete the destruction of the 
enemy. It was a good plan Bull Eun has been well called 
one of the best planned and worst fought battles of the war 
if it had succeeded, another civil war would have become 
necessary before slavery and secession were destroyed. 

McDowell's orders were issued on Saturday. That 
evening Colonel Howard addressed the men of the Second 
Vermont, with the rest of his brigade, saying that it was 
probably the last time they would all meet on earth, and 
dwelling more than was wise on the perils before them ; but 
nothing could dampen the spirit of the men. They welcomed 
the contest, and were as sure of victory as that there woul d 


be a battle. The troops were roused at half past two 
next morning ; but Heintzleman made but 
l61 ' little progress till after daylight, as Tyler's 
division, moving first, and behind time, to the Stone Bridge, 
filled the turnpike. Hunter's division, which preceded 
Heintzleman's, followed Tyler's with ever-accumulating de- 
lays. The sun was well up before Heintzleman was under 
way; and as Howard's brigade was the last of the division, and 
the Second Yermont the rear regiment of the brigade, it 
was seven o'clock before the Yermont regiment was fairly in 
motion. The men left their tents standing, and moved in 
light marching order, with forty rounds of ammunition in 
their cartridge boxes. 1 They took their blankets, thrown 
over their shoulders, but left their knapsacks in their tents, 
where they were found by the enem} r , thirty-six hours after. 
Between two and three miles out from Centreville, 
Heintzleman's division turned off from the turnpike by the 
wood road leading north to Sudley Ford, over w r hich Hunter 
had preceded him. As Howard turned from the turnpike 
into this road, he was halted by General McDowell, who was 
superintending the movement in person. McDowell had 
become apprehensive lest the enemy should cross Black- 
burn's Ford and attack his left, 2 and he held Howard's 
brigade to help Miles's division, which he had disposed 
along the Centreville ridge to resist any such attack, in case 
of need. The Confederate reports show that such an 
assault on the Union left was definitely ordered by General 
Beauregard ; but before it was executed the clouds of dust 
raised as the Union columns moved round to the north, told 
the Confederate commanders of the danger which threatened 

1 The cartridge was that so much used during the war on the Con- 
federate side, containing a ball and three buckshot, for the smooth bore 

2 General McDowell's Report. 



their left, and abandoning the counter demonstration they 
hurried brigades and batteries thither, leaving only a few 
companies to guard the Stone Bridge and the lower fords. 

For over four hours Howard's brigade waited wearily at 
the spot where it was halted by McDowell, the latter part of 
the time being enlivened by the sounds of the battle now 
going on in terrible earnest across Bull Run. The roar of 

FW Lu, 3PM. 

o/ a^dU. 

,. Btt*Wffl 

v Ritkitfr and Grigini Batttrii 

artillery and rattle of musketry thickened, rolling to the south 
as Hunter and then Heintzleman became engaged and pressed 
back the enemy. The latter had been driven back over a 
mile, to and beyond the Warrenton turnpike. Sherman's and 
Keyes's brigades (of Tyler's division) had forded Bull Bun 
above the Stone Bridge and were pressing the rebel centre, 
and thus far all was going^ well. Considerable portions of 


the Confederate army had in fact given up the day as lost, 
and having thrown down their guns were streaming towards 
Manassas in utter panic. But Johnston and Beauregard had 
hurried in person to the spot, and a new line was formed by 
them, composed at first of twelve regiments and twenty-two 
guns, soon heavily strengthened by fresh troops now arriv- 
ing both from the Shenandoah and from Kichmond. The 
line was formed in the edge of some woods which afforded 
concealment and protection, while their batteries swept the 
plateau south of the turnpike, on which stood the house of 
Mrs. Henry, 1 near which the hardest fighting of the day 
took place. It was here that Ricketts's battery was thrice lost 
and thrice recaptured and finally abandoned. Here the 
Union advance was checked, and here the retreat began. 
It was here, and as the last effort to hold the enemy back, 
while the demoralized fragments of the divisions that crossed 
Bull Kun were withdrawn, that the Yermonters did what 
fighting they had to do in this their first battle. 2 

When General McDowell discovered that Hunter and 
Heintzlernan were encountering heavy opposition, he sent 
back for Howard's brigade. The order to join the division 
reached Howard between twelve and one o'clock. The Stone 
Bridge was then guarded by but four companies of South 
Carolina troops, and if the Union commanders had only 
known it, he could easily have forced a passage by the turn- 
pike, and reached the field by a march of three miles. But 
his orders were to follow the route taken by the division, and 
he accordingly made the long detour by Sudley Ford. It 
was an exhausting march, in the very heat of the day. The 

1 Mrs. Henry, a bedridden old woman, was killed in her bed, during the 
battle, by fragments of exploded shells. 

2 "Across the [Warrenton] road was another hill or rather elevated 
ridge or table-land. The hottest part of the contest was for the possession 
of this hill, with a house on it. The force engaged here was Heintzleman's 
division, Wilcox's and Howard's brigades as the right." General Me- 
Dowell's Report. 


brigade Lad made two miles when an order came from 
General Heintzleman to liurry forward at double-quick. 
It was obeyed, though only the stoutest could stand the 
pace, and after a mile of it, the numbers of the men who 
fainted and fell out of the ranks made it plain that less haste 
would be greater speed. The rest of the march was accord- 
ingly made at quick time. The brigade reached the field 
about three o'clock, meeting, after it passed Sudley Spring, 
the disorganized remnants of a brigade, which had made its 
fight and was pushing for the rear. 1 Guided by an aid of 
General Heintzleman, it was at once sent to the right and 

The fighting of the Union troops at that portion of the 
field had been for some time a series of disconnected attacks 
upon the enemy's line. An artillery duel between Griffin's and 
Eicketts's batteries and a superior number of Confederate 
guns, had been maintained till the Union cannoneers had 
been killed or scattered by the enemy's musketry. Porter's, 
Franklin's and Wilcox's brigades had been brought up 
and regiment after regiment sent forward, only to retire 
in disorder. The " Fire Zouaves " of New York had made 
their short fight and been scattered by a charge of Virginia 
cavalry under Colonel J. E. B. Stuart, with whom, in later 
days, our Vermont cavalry became acquainted. The First 
Minnesota had been led up by General Heintzleman in per- 
son, and repulsed. The Fourteenth New York had made a 
gallant advance, and gone back quicker than it went forward. 
The battalion of U. S. Marines ordered to support the Four- 
teenth New York had thrice broken and thrice been rallied, 
and then fled in rout, leaving one of their officers, a gallant 

1 "As we approached the field we met Colonel Wilcox's brigade all 
disbanded. The privates said to our men as we passed : ' hurry on ; we 
drove them two miles ; you won't catch them, if you don't hurry.' Yet 
the sight of so many disorganized men looked very suspicious to me." 
Colonel Whiting's manuscript. 


young Yermonter, Lieutenant Robert E. Hitchcock, dead 
upon the field; and so of other regiments. Hunter and 
Heintzleman were wounded ; Wilcox was wounded and a 
prisoner; Eicketts was lying wounded under his deserted 
guns ; Griffin had with difficulty withdrawn three of his guns, 
which were met by the Second Vermont as the latter went 
forward, leaving three on the field. The day was, in fact, 
already lost for McDowell, though the Vermonters at least 
were no more aware of it than were the Confederate 

It was during this last lull of exhaustion and dawning 
consciousness of general disaster on the Union side, and of 
doubt what was next to happen on the Confederate side, 
that Howard's brigade was put into action. It was ordered 
forward by Heintzleman, evidently with little hope of retriev- 
ing the day, probably with no other object than to hold the 
enemy in check while the rest of the army was withdrawn. 
As it moved into the open ground on the ridge the sight was 
not encouraging to such of the officers and men as took any 
sense of the situation. Not a gun was firing on the Union 
side, and no organized body of troops, except their own, was 
in sight in that part of the field, 1 while the enemy's line, now 
visible in front, was still firm, protected by fences and woods, 
and in the not remote distance on the right, the brigade of 
General E. Kirby Smith (a Connecticut renegade) just 
arrived on the field from the Shenandoah, could be seen 
advancing unopposed. 

" The fact," says Colonel Whiting, in his brief and 
fragmentary report, "that we saw no infantry organized, 
gave us a good deal to think of, till we came to where the 
rifled cannon balls fell around. Then, not hearing any 
artillery from our side, the fact burst upon us, that all of our 
troops in the neighborhood except our brigade, were routed." 

1 " We did not see that day on the field any other organized troops." 
Colonel Whiting's manuscript. 


Nevertheless the brigade moved forward. The Second Ver- 
mont, marching by the flank, moved steadily up the slope, 
and over a low crest, near the pike, where it came under the 
fire of the enemy's batteries. By one of the first shells from 
these Corporal K. H. Benjamin, of Company C, was instantly 
killed, and First Sergeant U. A. "Woodbury, of Company H, 
had an arm taken off. This was the first life lost in action, 
and the first sleeve emptied by a rebel shot, among the Ver- 
mont troops. 1 

Eight or ten men of the Second Vermont were wounded 
while passing over the ridge. Moving on, into a hollow 
which afforded shelter from the enemy's fire, Colonel Howard 
formed his brigade in two lines of battle, the first composed 
of the Second Vermont and Fourth Maine, and the second 
of the Third Maine and what was left of the Fifth Maine, 
half of that regiment having scattered under the artillery 
fire. The Second Vermont marched steadily up the slope 
and was the first regiment of the brigade upon the crest. 

It made this movement alone, the Maine regiment which 

1 Russell H. Benjamin was a young man of 30, and a resident of Brattle- 
boro. He was in the employ of the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad 
company, when the war broke out, and enlisted when the first company of 
three years' troops was organized in that town. He was a member of the 
color-guard, and gave promise of being a good soldier. He was struck by 
a fragment of a shell, and instantly killed. His body was borne to one side 
by his comrades and laid under a tree ; and was subsequently buried on 
the field by the enemy. He left a widow. 

Sergeant Woodbury, of Elmore, was a student in the Medical de- 
partment of the University of Vermont, in April, 1861. He enlisted in the 
Fletcher company of the Second, and was the Orderly Sergeant of the 
company. A fragment of the same shell which killed Corporal Benjamin 
took off his right arm. He was taken to the rear to a cooper's shop near 
Sudley Church, used as a hospital, where his arm was amputated near the 
shoulder, by Surgeon Ballou. He was captured with the rest of the 
severely wounded, and after lying a week in the cooper's shop was taken to 
Richmond, and remained a prisoner till October, when he was released and 
received an honorable discharge from the service, to which he returned the 
next year as a Captain in the Eleventh Vermont. He was subsequently 
transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps. 


should have been the guiding regiment on its right hanging 
back, and in fact never reaching the line where the Second 
halted. Passing over the ridge and half-way down the slope 
beyond, the Second Vermont halted in sight of the enemy's 
line, plainly visible in the edge of the woods and behind a 
rail fence, from 200 to 300 yards distant. 1 Here the regiment 
opened fire, and fired from ten to fifteen rounds per man, 
with the effect of causing the withdrawal of a considerable 
portion of the enemy's line within the shelter of the woods. 
Seeing to the right some Confederate troops moving by the 
flank towards the woods in front of the regiment, Captain 
Walbridge, of Company A, whose men were armed with 
Springfield rifles, requested permission of Colonel Whiting 
to move his company in that direction and attack them. 
This request, which later in the war would have been deemed 
a rather peculiar one under the circumstances, was granted. 
Walbridge marched his compan}* some distance to the right, 
halted, and opened fire with noticeable effect, the enemy 
moving hastily into the shelter of the woods. Lieutenant 
Colonel Stannard, who showed in this his first battle the 
coolness and courage which marked his conduct in so many 
subsequent fights, seeing Walbridge's movement, went after 
him, to order him back to the regiment ; but learning that 
he had the Colonel's permission, left him there. 

The Second Vermont held its position, receiving repeated 
volleys of musketry, for about half an hour, during which 
Colonel Howard ordered up his second line, or as much of 
it as could be formed ; and the Third Maine, after having 
been once dispersed, as it passed over the crest, by the 
enemy's artillery fire, and falling back to re-form in the hol- 
low below, came up in the rear of the Yermonters and 

1 Supposed to have been the brigade of Colonel T. J. Jackson, who 
gained in this battle his title of " Stonewall Jackson," and two South 
Carolina regiments under Colonels Kershaw and Cash, with Kemper's 


commenced firing over their heads. About this time the 
concentration of the fire of the enemy's batteries, opening 
from the right as well as left upon his position, becoming 
serious, Colonel Whiting gave the order to cease firing, and 
to march "by the flank" to the right. Only a portion of the 
regiment heard the order, and obeyed it. The rest remained, 
but ceased firing under a cry, which ran along the line, that 
they had been firing on friends instead of foes. 1 The sight 
of some rebel colors, in the skirt of the woods, soon unde- 
ceived them, however, and they began firing again, firing 
in all some twenty rounds, when gradually discovering 
that the rest of the regiment had retired and that the 
line behind them had departed, they fell back by com- 
panies and squads, some, however, remaining till their 
ammunition was about exhausted. All halted under the cover 
of the crest, where the regiment was again formed ; then fell 
back over the plateau under a sharp fire ; and then, discover- 
ing that the army was in full retreat, hastened after the 
retreating masses. Meantime Company A. maintained its 
advanced position, and was joined by a battalion of 
U. S. troops, believed to have been Major Sykes's bat- 
talion of U. S. regulars, which was the last Union force of 
any size to maintain its organization in this part of 
the field. Perceiving, soon after, that the latter had fallen 
back to the right and rear and were forming square to resist 
cavalry, 2 Captain Walbridge joined the regulars with his 

1 Captain Walbridge states that a Confederate officer or soldier came 
from the woods to within hailing distance of the regiment and shouted: 
" You are firing on your friends." 

2 Taking a position on the extreme right in front of several regiments 
of the enemy, I opened an effective fire upon them and held my ground 
until all our troops had fallen back, and my flank was turned by a large 
force of horse and foot. I then retired a short distance in good order, and 
facing to the enemy on the crest of a hill, held his cavalry in check which 
still threatened our flank. At this stage of the action, my command was 
the only opposing force to the enemy and the last to leave the field." Re- 
port of Major George Sykes, Commanding Battallion U. S. Regulars 


company and helped form the square. The formation had been 
hardly completed, however, when a furious cannonade was 
opened from a Confederate battery which accompanied the 
cavalry. The order to " reduce square " was at once given 
and obeyed with alacrity. The situation was not a pleasant 
one, and "Walbridge thought it best to return to the regiment. 
While marching back, he noticed a line of the enemy at the 
edge of the woods in front, and proposed to his men to take 
a parting shot at them. This was done, and was replied to 
by a volley from the enemy, big enough to have swept Co. A 
from existence ; but only one Yermonter was wounded by 
it, a ball passing through his cheek. This was the last 
fighting done that day by any portion of the regiment, and 
must have been almost if not quite the last done by any 
organized portion of the Union Army on the field of Bull 

Hastening back to where he left the regiment, Walbridge 
found it and all the Union forces gone, and followed the 
retreat, halting once and forming his company in a piece of 
woods, to resist an expected attack of " Black Horse Cavalry," 
which, however, did not come. The company then mingled 
with the fleeing crowd. 

The Second Vermont maintained its organization and 
was the only regiment of Howard's brigade that did so till 
after it re-crossed the turnpike, and till it reached a spot 
where a jam of ambulances, artillery and ammunition wagons 
filled the road to Sudley Ford. The contagion of the panic 
under which nearly one-half of McDowell's army had dis- 
solved, here struck the Vermonters ; and though some of the 
best of the company commanders kept with them some of the 
best of their men, for the rest it was pretty much every man 
for himself. They returned by tho roundabout way over 
which they went, fording Bull Kun near Sudley Ford, and Cub 
Run at the so-called " Suspension bridge" where the blockade 
of wagons and artillery took place which gave the enemy their 


largest capture of guns, and reaching their camp at Centre- 
ville between nine and ten o'clock p. M. 

Colonel Whiting's account of the retreat is as follows : 
" Colonel Howard was not visible. It seemed unmilitary for 
me to order a retreat ; but it seemed necessary. I ordered : 
' Cease firing : Shoulder arms : Eight face : March !' When 
part way off the field, say four hundred yards, I looked 
around and as it seemed the left [of the line] had not heard 
my command and had not started ; and the Captain of the 
company on the right seemed to think his company might do 
some more service yet, and was loth to leave the field. But 
little time elapsed before we were all over the hill. I chose 
marching off the field by the flank, fearing that by marching 
in line, as we came on, the line might be broken, and present 
the appearance of too hasty a retreat. Had my command 
been heard and obeyed the manner of leaving the field would 
have been more satisfactory. The regiment was broken up, 
going over the thickly bushed hill. On coming out to a clear 
place, I inquired of some officers, of the casualties. They 
said the Captain of the color company was left on the field. 1 
I proposed to accompany them to bring him off. While we 
were talking a mounted officer rode up and told us we would 
all be taken prisoners in ten minutes. We then proceeded a 
little to where there was an assemblage of stragglers. Colonel 
Howard ordered me to form line, which I did. He ordered 
the Maine regiments to do the same, which they did not. 
I was ordered to march my regiment back to Centreville. 
We had proceeded but a little way on the narrow road, being 
driven out every few rods by artillery teams. Though I had 
not seen any of the rebs in pursuit I presumed the mounted 
officer that warned us to leave had seen them, and that we 
should probably meet them at the next cross roads. So I 

1 This, however, was not the case. Captain Todd was helped off from 
the field by some of his men, was placed by Lieutenant Colonel 
nard on a stray horse which he caught, and reached the camp that evening. 


directed the regiment down a wooded stream and waded the 
one it emptied into. When opposite the cross roads, we heard 
the firing and yelling we anticipated. When a little way out 
of Centreville we met the reserve." 

By eleven o'clock that night most of the stragglers were in 
camp. As a general thing the men brought their muskets with 
them, 1 and though all early threw away their blankets many 
brought in blankets which they had picked up on the retreat. 
That the regiment compared favorably with the others of 
the brigade in point of discipline is indicated by the 
fact that of the 616 men officially reported missing, of 
Howard's brigade, but 91 were of the Second Vermont, 
though it was the largest regiment in the brigade. The 
Fourth Maine reported 119 missing, and the Fifth Maine 
no less than 333 missing. In fact, as will appear shortly, 
but ten unwounded Verrnonters were captured, and but 
thirty-one in all. The official reports of the Federal loss, 3 
made immediately after the battle, though generally ac- 
cepted on both sides, were beyond question exaggerated, 
by reporting as missing stragglers who soon rejoined their regi- 
ments, and by counting twice men who were included in the 
lists both of wounded and prisoners. If the total loss of 
McDowell's army, as officially reported, was as much exag- 
gerated as that of the Second Yermont regiment, the 
aggregate should be lessened by nearly one-half. In General 
Heintzleman's report of the casualties of his division, the loss 

1 "I do not think that over one in twenty threw away their muskets." 
Statement of Captain Elijah Wales. 

The casualties of the two armies, as stated ia the official reports, were 
as follows : 

Union, Killed, 481; wounded, 1011; missing, 1216; total, 2,708. 

Confederate, " 387; " 1582; {i 13; " 1,982. 

The Union losses were confined to the seven brigades and five batteries, 
numbering 18,572 officers and men, and 24 guns, which General McDowell 
took across Bull Run. 


of the Second Yermont is stated to have been 6 enlisted men 
killed, 1 officer and 21 enlisted men wounded, and 1 officer 
and 91 enlisted men missing a total of 120. Its actual loss 
was 2 enlisted men, Corporal Benjamin of Co. C and Victor 
Goodrich of Co. F, killed ; ' 1 officer, Captain Todd of Brattle- 
boro who received a ball through the throat, 3 and 34 
enlisted men wounded ; 3 and 1 officer, Captain J. T. Drew, of 
Burlington, 4 and 30 enlisted men missing, all of them being 
captured a total of 68. 

1 Victor Goodrich was a young man of 23, from Roxbury, a blacksmith 
by trade, and a general favorite with his comrades, one of whom says that 
just before leaving camp at Bush Hill, Goodrich mounted a box and began 
to dance, saying "Boys, I am going to have one more good dance and 
it may be my last one." Such it proved to be. He fell soon after the firing 
began, his head pierced by a musket ball which passed through it from 
ear to ear. His body was left where he fell. 

2 Capt. Todd was the youngest captain in the line. He resigned in 
January, 1862 ; but subsequently enlisted in the Eleventh Vermont, and 
served through the war. He was again wounded at the Battle of Win- 

3 Killed. Corp. R. H. Benjamin, Co. C; Victor Goodrich, Co. G. 

Wounded. Sergeant Major William Guinan, hand. Co. A A. J. 
ISToyes, thigh; -cheek. Co. B J. Bolton, thigh; W. Gifford, 
hand ; A. S. Howard, Edward Knox, P. Lloyd, J. McKean, John Streeter. 
C . C Capt. E. A. Todd, throat; Corp. C. B. Rice, leg; Corp. E. L. 
Keables, face ; E. P. Gilson, M. K. Pratt, arm, amp. Co. D John Gow- 
ing, foot ; A. Hill, leg ; S. Leger, arm ; E. Murphy, head. Co. E G. W. 
Pierce, Co. F-T. Clury, head, slight; C. Harran, hip- H. Stearns. Co. 
G J. H. Bell, slight ; W. L. Jones, slight ; F. Nelson, slight. Co. H 
Sergeant TJ. A. Woodbury, arm, amp.; N. Dunbar, arm; George Streeter, 
leg. Co. I H. K. Austin, T. J. Jaquish, J. Leonard, arm; H. Tole. 
Co. K A. Lawrence, James Walker. 

4 Capt. Drew had been ill for several days before the battle ; but fol- 
lowed the regiment to the field, with the assistance of a field officer of an- 
other regiment, who placed him for a time on his horse. Being helpless 
from vomiting and weakness he was taken into one of the hospitals near 
the field. From this after a short rest, he started again for the field, met 
the regiment on the retreat, was assisted along the road by two or three of 
the Vermont boys, and finally placed by them in an ambulance, which was 
overtaken by the rebel cavalry. He was carried to Richmond, spent nearly 
13 months in rebel prisons, came home with shattered health, resigned in 
October, 1862, and subsequently served in the Invalid Reserve Corps. 


Of the 31 men captured, 21 were wounded and three, Cor- 
poral Keables and E. P. Gilson of Co. C, and John Gow- 
ing of Co. D., died of their wounds in Richmond. The sur- 
vivors of the rank and file were paroled and released, 
after six months' imprisonment, in the following January. 

The colors were brought from the field, riddled with bul- 
lets and torn by a shell. It is well to remember that the 
panic in which the Vermonters shared was, at worst, no 
greater than history has recorded of veteran troops at Wa- 
terloo, Solferino, and other famous battles; that the nearly 
equal numbers of killed and wounded of the two armies 
shows that on the whole the battle was fought, until the 
retreat began, with equal courage on the two sides ; and 
that while their victory was a complete one, the Confederates 
did not know it, till they learned it from Washington. 1 

Colonel Whiting, in his fragmentary report, says of his 
regiment that " officers and men exhibited the utmost cool- 
ness and bravery in the presence of the enemy." This is 
also the testimony of their brigade commander. Eesponding 
to an address from the non-commissioned officers of the 
Second Vermont, on the occasion of the departure of the re- 
giment from his command, Colonel Howard said : " I remem- 
ber you on the march, before the 21st of July, at Sangsters, 
at Centreville, and on that memorable day at Bull Run. I 
often speak of your behaviour on that occasion. Cool and 
stea'dy as regular troops, you stood on the brow of that hill 
and fired your thirty-six rounds, and retired only at the 
command of your Colonel." Colonel Howard could not say 
as much for any other regiment of his brigade. The Second 

, J " You will not fail to remember," wrote Jefferson Davis to General 
Beauregard, August 4, 1861, " that so far from knowing that the enemy 
was routed, a large part of our forces was moved by you, in the night of the 
21st, to repel a supposed attack upon our right ; and the next day's opera- 
tions did not fully reveal what has since been reported of the enemy's 
panic." Official Records, Vol, II, p. 508. 


Vermont really did most of the fighting that was done by 
Howard's brigade, which General Heintzleman says "for 
some time gallantly held the enemy in check." It went as 
far to the front and fought as long as any Union troops ; and 
there was testimony from the other side that it did good 
execution. 1 

Among the incidents of the battle, the good conduct of 
the surgeons is worthy of mention. Surgeon Ballou estab- 
lished his hospital in a cooper's shop, near Sudley Church, 
where he performed several amputations and was efficient in 
care of the wounded till our army had left the field, when 
taking some wounded men in an ambulance, he followed the 
retreating army with them till the ambulance broke down, 
after which, as he could be of no more service, he made his 
escape on foot. 

Assistant Surgeon Carpenter was detached from the 
regiment, by order of a superior officer, before the battle, 
and stationed at a small house on the turnpike, in charge of 
a number of sick and disabled men. All of these who could 
walk, joined the retreat. Dr. Carpenter then posted himself 
in the road, pistol in hand, halted every wagon that came 
along, and when he could not persuade compelled the un- 
willing drivers to take in one or more of his sick and wounded 
men, till all were taken. He then, in company with a surgeon 
of another regiment, followed the column to Centreville. 
The men thus assisted never forgot the service rendered them 
by the resolute young Yermont surgeon. 

Of the many other incidents of the battle one only can 
be narrated here. 

1 " We found a Richmond newspaper at Vienna, (Va.,) and it stated 
that the Vermont 2d regiment was cut all to pieces [at the Battle of Bull 
Run,] all but twenty men. It said the Vermont soldiers were the best the 
unionists had, and congratulated the rebels on having killed us all off, be- 
cause almost every shot of ours was sure to kill a man." Letter from Cap. 
tain Solon Eaton, October, 1861. . 


When the regiment was inspected for muster into the 
service, a young man who had enlisted while a student in 
the Fairfax, (Yt.) Theological Seminary, named John C. 
Thayer, was rejected, on account of a stiff wrist. There- 
upon, as he could not go out as a fighting man, he accom- 
panied the regiment as a company cook. He was left in 
camp when the regiment marched across Bull Run and list- 
ened to the sound of the battle till he could stay behind no 
longer, when, obtaining a musket from a disabled soldier, he 
started for the field. On the retreat he was overtaken on 
the turnpike by a troop of Confederate cavalry. An officer 
separated himself from his company, and spurred his horse 
towards young Thayer, with a summons to surrender. The 
answer was a shot from the Vermonter's musket. His assail- 
ant fell dead from his horse, and Thayer took from his body 
his sword, sash and field glass, and made good his escape, 
with four bullet holes through his blue blouse. He returned 
to Yermont soon after, taking his trophies with him. 1 

The good service rendered by Yermonters in this battle 
was not confined to the Second Yermont regiment. A gal- 
lant son of Yermont, Captain E. E. Platt, Second U. S. 
Artillery, was in command that day of two sections of 
artillery, which repulsed a formidable demonstration 
made about five o'clock p. M., against the left of the Union 
position. This was made by Jones's brigade of South 
Carolina and Mississippi troops, which crossed Bull Run at 
Blackburn's Ford after the retreat of the Union right and 
centre, and advancing up a ravine nearly gained a command- 
ing position on the flank of Miles's division before it was 
discovered that they were not Union troops. Major Henry 

Colonel Radford, Thirtieth Virginia Cavalry, who led the Cavalry 
pursuit along the turnpike, mentions the death of Lieutenant B H. 
Bowles, who he says, was separated from his company during a charge, 
and killed. This may have been the Cavalry officer who was shot by 


J. Hunt, afterwards the able chief of artillery of the Army of 
the Potomac, commanding the artillery at that point, made 
hasty disposition of Platt's guns and two rifled pieces, and as 
the Confederate column emerged from the ravine it was re- 
ceived, says Hunt, "with a perfect storm of canister." "No 
troops," he adds, " could stand it, and the enemy broke and 
fled in every direction, taking refuge in the woods and 
ravines ; and in less than fifteen minutes not a single man. 
could be seen on the ground which had so recently swarmed 
. with them. The infantry regiments had not found it necessary 
to fire a single shot." ] General Hunt always attached ex- 
treme importance to Platt's vigorous cannonade. 

Another gallant son of Vermont, Colonel Israel B. Richard- 
son, commanded the brigade which moved "in good order" 
last along the Centreville ridge that night, and covered the 
retreat of the Union army. 

After an hour's rest at Centreville the weary men of 
Howard's brigade were roused and marched, the Second 
Vermont bringing up the rear, to Fairfax Court House. They 
lay there till day light, and then continued their retreat to 

The regiment was quartered on the night of the 22d in 

1 Report of Major Hunt, Vol II, Official Records. 

The following is an. extract from a letter addressed to Colonel Platt 
by General Hunt, after the close of the war : "At Bull Run, July 21, 1861, 
the attack on our left near Blackburn's Ford, made by D. R. Jones's 
brigade, assisted by a portion of Longstreet's and Rone's cavalry, was 
repulsed by the artillery. This artillery consisted of your battery of four 
Napoleons, and a section of Edwards's Rifle Battery. The fighting was at 
close range. You used only canister, and the enemy was promptly de- 
feated and put to flight. This was due principally, if not entirely, to your 
guns, and its immediate effect was, as stated by the enemy, to throw 
Jones back across the river ; to cause a suspension of the pursuit of our 
right ; and to cause Ewell who had crossed at Union Mills and was moving 
to Centreville, to retrace his steps and hurry to Blackburn's Ford. Centre- 
ville was thus saved, and by its safety secured the retreat of our army, and 
I do not hesitate to say, saved Washington from capture by the rebels. 
* * * That success was due mainly to the battery under your command. 


the city market building of Alexandria, and remained there 
till the 25th, when it moved back to its old camp at Bush 
Hill. 1 Arriving there the men stacked arms and lay down on 
the ground, not in a cheerful condition of mind or body. 
Many of the weaker men were sick from exhaustion. All were 
without tents or overcoats, and many without knapsacks 
or blankets, and there was no uniformity of arms, many 
of the men having changed their guns for others picked up 
on the retreat. There was also a lack of confidence in their 
regimental commander, on the part of a considerable portion 
of the regiment, which ripened later into a serious contro- 
versy. The process of recuperation, however, began at once. 
The regiment shared the revival of confidence following the 
appointment of General McClellan to the command of the 
Army, and the establishment of stricter discipline. Colonel 
Whiting was active in efforts to restore the equipment and 
morale of the regiment, and a report that new Enfield rifles 
would soon be distributed did much to cheer the men. 

On the 6th of August the regiment was reviewed by Gen- 
eral McDowell, and complimented on its "good condition." 

Night alarms were frequent at this time, and the men 
repeatedly fell into line in the darkness and stood under 
arms till dawn, to discover that it was only a scare on tLe 
part of some of the more excitable troops around them. 2 

About this time the disaffection towards Colonel Whiting 
came distinctly to the surface ; and as it became serious 
enough to be brought to the attention of the Legislature of 

1 As indicating the demoralized condition of the regiment it may 1 e 
mentioned that it took Lieutenant Colonel Stannard, who was in command, 
Colonel Whiting having gone on to Washington, nearly two hours to get 
the regiment into line, for the march to Bush Hill. 

2 One night a German orderly, of a Pennsylvania regiment, rode into 
camp, shouting loudly: "Turn out your long rolls!" Another night a 
trembling, (or perhaps only shivering), aid summoned the Colonel to make 
ready to receive an immediate attack, as the rebels were moving on him "in 
three columns." The columns did not appear, however. 


Vermont by formal resolution 2 it requires notice in this 
history. The trouble really began at the first organization of 
the regiment, in dissatisfaction with the Governor's selection 
of a man who was not a Vermonter, nor in any way known 
to the people of Vermont, for the command. But the jeal- 
ousies thus aroused were not shared by many, and would 
probably have been soon overcome by one who, to the many 
excellent qualities possessed by Colonel Whiting, had added 
the characteristic of personal bravery. This, it must be 
admitted, was not conspicuous in him. He meant to do his 
duty; but not to expose himself any more than was 
necessary. The men discovered this in the battle, and in 
various newspaper letters and articles, he was distinctly 
charged with showing the white feather at Bull Run. 

On the 12th of August Colonel Whiting preferred formal 
charges against Major Joyce, charging him with violating the 
army regulations by writing a letter to the Burlington Times, 
"the object of which," the specification stated, "was the 
praise of many, but especially the censure of Colonel Whiting" 
and with "publishing a malicious falsehood in stating that he 
(Joyce) at Whiting's request gave the order to advance 
against the enemy, to the regiment, and saw it executed, 
when in fact the order referred to was given by Colonel 
Whiting and executed by him." 

Pending trial on these charges, Major Joyce was ordered 
under arrest, having the liberty of the camp only. The 
Major was popular with the regiment, and had the sympathy 
of the larger part of the line officers and of many of the 
men. A paper requesting Colonel Whiting to resign the 
command of the regiment was drawn up and signed by a 

2 A resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives, Nov. 
12th, 1861, to the effect that the officers and soldiers of the Second Regi- 
ment do not generally repose that confidence in their commander, Colonel 
Whiting, which is necessary to their usefulness; and that he be respect- 
fully requested to tender his resignation as Colonel. 


majority of the commissioned officers. The staff and a few 
line officers declined to sign the paper, 1 and the Lieutenant 
Colonel and Surgeon united in a guarded letter to Gov- 
ernor Fairbanks, in which they attributed the reports 
prejudicial to Colonel Whiting, to the statements of a non- 
commissioned officer who had been reproved by the Colonel 
for drunkenness, and expressed surprise that such reports 
against an officer whose conduct had been approved by his 
brigade and division commanders, should have been taken up 
by the press. The Colonel was not without other defenders, 
and Colonel Howard's statement that Colonel Whiting was 
at his post when the first line of the brigade of which the 
Second Yermont was a part, began firing, 2 was published. 
But while these statements tended to quiet the public 
clamor, and satisfied the Vermont Members of Congress, who 
looked into the matter, that the case was not one requiring 
executive interference, the disaffection with Colonel Whiting 
was not so easily abated. 

Major Joyce, in a written communication, expressed 
regret that he had written the portions of his published 
letter which he had discovered to be in violation of the 
army rules, and withdrew the same ; but he remained under 
arrest till the 23d of September, when General Smith re- 
leased him, the order saying it was difficult to get a general 
court martial assembled, and that the General "deemed that 
Major Joyce had been kept sufficiently long in arrest to 
satisfy the ends of justice." The news spread quickly through 
the camp, and the regiment turned out and greeted the 
major, on his return to duty, with three times three cheers. 

Early in August, the Third Vermont regiment having 
been raised and sent to Washington, and the immediate 

1 This was never presented to the Colonel. 

2 " Colonel Whiting was at his post when I left for the second line, and 
I refer to his report, for notice of his field and other officers. They were 
not wanting." Report of Colonel O. O. Howard, Official Records. 


recruiting of two more three years regiments having been 
ordered, General W. F. Smith formed the purpose of making 
a Vermont brigade of the four regiments thus raised and to 
be raised. In pursuance of this plan the Second, regiment 
was detached from Howard's brigade, and ordered to move 
to Camp Lyon, on the heights in Georgetown commanding 
the "Chain Bridge" across the Potomac, where the Third 
Vermont had now been stationed for two weeks. The Second 
moved thither on Monday August 12th, taking cars to Alex- 
andria, and went into camp between the camps of the Third 
Vermont and Sixth Maine. The change to the higher ground 
and purer air of the Georgetown heights was favorable to 
the health of the men. The rations improved in quality ; the 
quartermaster procured supplies of new shoes, shirts and 
stockings, which were much needed. Skirmish drill and 
target practice were added to the company and battalion 
drills, and the regiment improved rapidly in general con- 
dition. On the 20th of August the regiment was sent twelve 
miles up the river, to Great Falls, to guard the fords, and 
remained there five days, when it returned to Camp Lyon. 
The men spent a good deal of work in making their camp 
comfortable, and had got it into excellent shape, when orders 
came to leave it. 

In the first week in September General McClellan began 
to occupy the portions of Virginia within sight of the dome 
of the Capitol, and on the 3rd General Smith's brigade, con- 
sisting of the Second and Third Vermont, the Thirty-third 
New York, and a battery, was moved across Chain Bridge, to 
occupy positions selected for the sites of extensive fortifica- 
tions to be erected on the Virginia side of the Potomac. The 
march was made at night, with as much caution as if in 
presence of the enemy. Moving out a mile from the Bridge, 
on the Leesburg pike, the brigade encamped in a hickory 
grove. To this camp the somewhat formidable title of 
" Camp Advance " was given, under the impression that the 


movement meant a spsedy advance upon Richmond. Ex- 
changing muskets for picks and shovels, the men now had 
pretty steady fatigue duty, at first in the erection of earth- 
works for .their own protection, and afterwards in tlie con- 
struction of Forts Ethan Allen and Marcy, which were to 
guard the approaches to Chain Bridge. 

On the 10th of September, while at work in the trenches 
of what was to be Fort Ethan Allen, the Yermonters had 
a new sensation, in a visit from President Lincoln, who 
was accompanied by General McClellan. Very few of them 
had ever seen Mr. Lincoln, and to all it was the first sight of 
the new commander of the army. Hundreds of the men 
improved the opportunity to shake hands with the dis- 
tinguished visitors. The soldierly bearing of General 
McClellan was especially approved ; and not a man doubted 
that under him the expected advance would be a march to 
certain victory. 

Details for picket duty were frequent, and as seces- 
sionists and confederate scouts were plenty outside the lines 
this service was not without danger. Private William E. 
Snow, of Company H, was shot on picket and died from his 
wounds, in the enemy's hands, on the llth of September. 
The occurrence was not discovered by his comrades at the 
time ; and one of the mournful contingencies of army life was 
exemplified by the fact that his name stood for years on 
the record as that of a deserter, instead of as a good soldier, 
who gave his life to the discharge of his duty. 

On the llth Companies A, Captain Walbridge, and F, 
Captain Randall, which had been detached from the regiment 
a week previous and stationed with a section of Mott's 
Battery as an outpost on the Leesburg pike, formed part of 
a force sent out by General Smith to Lewinsville, a little 
hamlet consisting of a church and three and four houses, five 
miles west of Chain Bridge, to reconnoitre. They supported 
Griffin's battery during an artillery duel with Eosser's Con- 


federate battery, and were complimented by Captain Griffin 
for their steadiness. 1 

On the 20th 150 recruits, enlisted by officers of the regi- 
ment who had been despatched to Vermont soon after the 
battle of Bull Eun, arrived at Camp Advance and were 
distributed among the companies, bringing up the aggregate 
of the regiment to about a thousand men. 

Scouting parties were frequently sent out, one or two of 
which had the excitement of exchanging shots with the 
Confederate cavalry pickets. 

On the 24th the camp of the regiment was moved out 
about a mile toward Lewinsville ; but the chief work of the 
regiment continued to be fatigue duty, in the construction of 
the ramparts of Fort Ethan Allen. This was a large fort, 
covering six acres, and intended to mount fifty guns. Its 
construction involved an immense amount of hard labor, 
the larger share of which was borne by the Yermonters and 
was recognized by General McClellan, by giving it the name 
of Vermont's Revolutionary hero. 2 By the same order, an 
earthwork near the Georgetown reservoir, also built by the 
Vermonters, was designated as " Battery Vermont." 

September 25th, the regiment formed part of a column 
of 5,000 men, with which General Smith made an unresisted 
reconnoissance to Lewinsville. On the night of September 
28th, the regiment participated in a night expedition, which 
resulted, as such expeditions so often did in the early part 
of the war, in a collision between Union troops in the dark- 
ness. It received little public notice, and is alluded to, rather 
than described, in the official reports ; but it was really a 
more serious affair than the more famous one on the night 
march to Big Bethel. The force detailed comprised half a 

1 A fuller account of this reconnoissance is given in the history of the 
Third Regiment, in Chapter VII. 

2 General Order No. 18, Army of the Potomac, September 30, 1861. 


dozen regiments, among which were the Second and Third 
Vermont, and numbered about 5,000 men under the command 
of General W. S. Hancock, now coming into notice as a bri- 
gade commander under General William F. Smith. It was in- 
tended to surprise the Confederate outpost at Munson's Hill, 
and to occupy that point, from which the rebel flag so long 
floated in plain sight from the Capitol of the Union. The col- 
umn started about nine o'clock in the evening, the night being 
cloudy and dark, and was passing through some woods about 
four miles out, about midnight, when the Seventy First 
Pennsylvania regiment, at the head of the column, was fired 
on by a portion of the Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, known 
as the "Cameron Dragoons," which had been sent out in 
advance of the infantry, and, missing their way in the dark- 
ness, had come by a roundabout way back upon the Union 
column, which they took for a Confederate force, sent to 
meet them. The firing alarmed the whole command, and was 
followed by a second similar collision, in which a portion of 
the Sixty Ninth Pennsylvania fired into the Seventy First 
Pennsylvania, which returned the fire. Among the features 
of the affair was a stampede of artillery horses, which clashed 
through and over some of the infantry, injuring a number of 
men, and a skirmish between several of the frightened dra- 
goons and some men of the Second Vermont, the former firing 
into the latter, who returned the fire, killing one and wound- 
ing another of the dragoons. In all nine men were killed 
and twenty-five wounded in this unfortunate affair. The Ver- 
mont troops, however, escaped with nothing worse than 
bruises. After order was restored, the column halted till 
daylight, when most of the regiments marched back to their 
camps. The Second Vermont remained, by General Han- 
cock's orders, and bivouacked on Vanderwerker's farm, three 
miles from their camp, for two days, when, information hav- 
ing been meantime received of the evacuation of Falls Church 
and Munson's and Upton's Hills by the Confederate forces 


stationed there, which had quietly withdrawn while the 
Federal regiments were firing into each other, the regiment 
returned to camp. 

Among the results of this affair, was the most extensive 
case of discipline that ever occurred in the history of the 
regiment. When the order to fall in was given on the evening 
of September 28th, Lieutenant Phillips of Company F and 
a detail of about 100 men, who had just come in from picket 
duty, acting on the theory that volunteers were not obliged 
to regard orders which did not seem to them reasonable, 
ignored the command and remained in their tents. Their 
absence from the ranks was not discovered by Colonel Whit- 
ing till the next forenoon, when he also learned that one of 
his captains had gone back to camp, with a number of his 
company, without orders. Charges were thereupon preferred 
against all concerned in this breach of discipline. The non- 
commissioned officers and privates, to the number of one hun- 
dred and fifty, were tried by regimental court martial, and sen- 
tenced, the former to be reduced to the ranks and the latter to 
fines and the guard house. Captain Eandall and Lieutenant 
Phillips were placed under arrest, and in December following, 
by sentence of court martial, the Captain was suspended 
from duty for thirty days, and the Lieutenant dismissed the 

During the last week of September, the men were cheered 
by the arrival of the Fourth and Fifth Yermont regiments, 
which went into camp close by them ; but in other respects 
their condition was not cheerful. They needed their lost 
overcoats in the autumn fogs and chilly nights. The cold 
rain storms beat through their old and thin tents, and their 
uniforms, faded by the summer sun and worn with fatigue 
duty, matched their thin faces. About this time partial sup- 
plies of army clothing were secured from the Government, 
and the army blue began to mingle with the gray in the 
ranks ; but the supply was insufficient, for the Government 


had more men to clothe than it had uniforms, and the sick 
roll became large before the needs of the men were supplied. 

On the 10th of October a further short advance into 
"Virginia was made by General Smith's division, now num- 
bering upwards of 13,000 men of all arms, which was slowly 
edging out to the front. As a part of this advance, 
the Second Yermont, with the other Vermont regiments, 
moved out four miles to Johnson's Hill, near Lewinsville, 
and established the camp called Camp Griffin, after the gal- 
lant commander of Griffin's Light Battery. Here they re- 
mained for five months. 

On the 17th of October, Lieutenant Colonel Stannard 
with four companies of the Second and a company of cavalry, 
made a reconnoissance to Yienna, five miles distant, finding 
that the Confederate force stationed there up to the previous 
night had fallen back to Fairfax Court House. 

The destitution of the troops as regarded clothing be- 
came more serious as the season advanced. October 21st, 
General Smith informed Governor Fairbanks by telegraph, 
that the men of the Second and Third regiments were suffer- 
ing for want of clothing, and that 850 coats, 1,500 pairs of 
pantaloons, and 100 tents were needed at once to make the 
men comfortable. This was followed by a communication to 
the Yermont Legislature, then in session, signed by Colonel 
Whiting and by nearly all the officers of the regiment, certi- 
fying that the men of the Second regiment had been suffer- 
ing since the middle of September for want of sufficient 
clothing and tents and that the supply obtainable from the 
government fell far short of the present wants, and 
asking the Legislature to furnish the needed supplies. Quar- 
termaster General Davis was at once despatched by the 
Governor to Washington and Camp Griffin, and on his return 
reported that the general government had partially supplied 
the regiment and would do so fully as soon as possible. 
Furthermore, that the war department preferred to furnish 


all supplies itself, since the presence of both the State and 
general governments as purchasers of army goods in the 
market would tend to enhance prices and make needless em- 
barrassment to both. The State authorities of Vermont, 
though anxious to do their utmost to provide for the wants 
of the Vermont troops, acquiesced in the views of the war 
department. The latter gradually provided the needed sup- 
plies ; and by the last of October the regiment was in a fair 
condition as regarded health, clothing, equipment and dis- 

During the month of October the Third, Fourth, Fifth 
and Sixth Vermont regiments arrived at Camp Griffin, and 
the first Vermont brigade was fully organized. With that 
noble brigade the Second regiment now became identified, 
and in the history of that brigade, to be related in subsequent 
chapters, the history of the regiment will be largely embodied- 
Some episodes and incidents belonging exclusively to the 
regiment, will, however, properly have place in this regimental 



Controversy between Colonel Whiting and the State Authorities The 
Peninsula Campaign Promotions and Changes of Officers The Seven 
Days' Retreat Maryland Campaign of 1863 First Fredericksburg 
Resignation of Colonel Whiting Sketch of Colonel Walbridge 
Second Fredericksburg and Salem Heights Second Maryland Cam- 
paign A month in New York Return to Virginia Capture of Quart- 
termaster Stone Execution of deserters Winter at Brandy Station 
Resignation of Colonel Walbridge Sketch of Colonel Stone The 
Wilderness Campaign Death of Colonels Stone and Tyler Losses 
of Officers and Men End of Three Years' Term General Neill's 
Farewell order Movements with the Sixth Corps In the Shenandoah 
Valley Back to Petersburg Close of the War Return Home. 

On the 9th of November, the regiment, with a company 
of Pennsylvania cavalry and two field pieces, under Colonel 
Whiting, made an unopposed reconnoissance to Peacock Hill, 
four miles north of Vienna. On the 14th of November, the 
Second was selected, with three other regiments, to hold 
the position occupied by General Smith's division, while the 
rest of the division took part in the grand parade and review 
by General McClellan. 

During the months of November and December, a some- 
what noteworthy controversy arose between Colonel Whiting 
and the State authorities. Several vacancies having occurred 
in the line by the resignations of Captain Burnham, Co. H. 
Lieutenants W. W. Henry, 1 Co. D. and S. W. Parkhurst' 

1 The departure of Lieutenant Henry, who resigned in consequence of 
serious pulmonary trouble, was universally regretted. His health having 
become restored, he returned to the service ten months later, as Major of 
the Tenth Vermont. 


Co. L, and others, Colonel Whiting forwarded various re- 
commendations for promotions and appointments to the 
Governor. In view of the fact that company officers some- 
times found it difficult to secure obedience from men who 
were their neighbors and equals at home, the Colonel, in 
making his list, had made it a point to transfer officers from 
one company to another. This did not meet the approval of 
Governor Holbrook, who had recently succeeded to the 
Governorship. Adjutant General Washburn informed Colonel 
"Whiting that the principle of appointments of line officers, as 
opposed to the elective system in vogue in the State militia, 
was at variance with the constitution and statutes of the State 
of Vermont. As the regiments were now in the service of the 
United States, the State authorities would, however, treat the 
regulations of the War Department as modifying those of the 
State. Yet the Governor would require that all recommenda- 
tions for appointments of commissioned officers be made by 
a majority of the field officers ; that in case of an appoint- 
ment of a lieutenant, the concurrence of the captain of 
the company should be obtained ; and that when transfers 
from one company to another were recommended, it should be 
shown that the transfers were approved by " the subordinates 
of the company." Colonel Whiting replied that he recognized 
his obligation to meet the approval of his superiors ; but that 
to submit his recommendations to his inferiors in rank and 
even to "subordinates" in the ranks, while in the field, was 
utterly without precedent in all military history ; and that he 
could not waive his rank as commander of the regiment, nor 
consent to solicit the approval of the subalterns ; nor 
could he be responsible for the discipline of the regiment " if 
the head was to be in the tail." The point was obvious, and 
the State authorities saw it. The Governor replied that while 
it was something of a question to what extent the rules of 
the regular army ought to be applied to volunteer troops 
largely composed of men of property, education and stands 


ing, all that he required was that some good reasons should 
be adduced when promotions out of the regular order were 
recommended. As to obtaining the views of the subalterns 
he advised that they be consulted when they could be " with 
propriety." This was more than Colonel Whiting would yield. 
He declined to modify his recommendations or to submit 
further statement of his reasons therefor, and his recommen- 
dations were accordingly hung up in the Adjutant General's 
office, for some time. The muddle was finally ended by the 
granting of a leave of absence to the Colonel, to visit his 
home in Michigan. During his absence, his recommenda- 
tions were renewed by Lieutenant Colonel Stannard, com- 
manding, with such representations as made them satisfactory 
to the Governor and Adjutant General, and the commissions 
were issued. The controversy had the effect of settling the 
system of recommendations and appointments, in the only 
way in which it could be settled ; and thereafter, the recom- 
mendations of colonels in the field, for appointments and 
promotions in their commands, were, as a rule, approved by 
the Governors, without dispute. 

During the month of November the men were supplied 
with overcoats and other needed clothing ; the health of the 
regiment improved ; and throughout the winter the Second 
was conspicuous among the regiments of the brigade for its 
comparatively small sick list, due in part perhaps to the 
more healthful location of its camp, and in part no doubt to 
the excellent care oaken of the men by its colonel and his 
medical staff. About the middle of December the regimental 
band was disbanded. Its members had become sick of camp 
life, and were discharged from the service by order of the 
Secretary of War. 

The regiment passed an uneventful winter, improving 
steadily in drill and in morale. The disaffection with the 
colonel almost died away ; and in March a notable indica- 
tion of the respect and confidence of the rank and file was 


extended to him by the presentation of a handsome 
sword, with double scabbard, belt, sash, pistols, saddle and 
horse equipments, suitably encased and inscribed. 1 

When the spring campaign of 1862 opened, the regiment 
broke camp, March 10th, and marched with the brigade and 
with McClellan's army to Alexandria, went thence by trans- 
ports to Fortress Monroe, and took its part in the first 
Peninsula campaign of the Army of the Potomac. 

At Lee's Mill, April 16th, where the other regiments of 
the brigade received their first baptism of blood, the Second 
^was held back as a support, and lost but two men. 2 

On the 30th of April, one of the most important recon- 
noissances made by General McClellan before the evacuation 

of Yorktown, was conducted by the Second 
April 30, 1862. 

regiment. It was sent, under command of 

Lieutenant Colonel Stannard Colonel Whiting being en- 
gaged on a court martial to reconnoitre some works which 
the enemy was supposed to be strengthening below the dams 
of the Warwick Kiver. Colonel Stannard threw out A., I., and 
B. companies as skirmishers, who met the enemy's pickets 
and drove them back half a mile to the cover of their rifle 
pits. In this skirmish three men were killed. 8 The enemy 
beat the long roll and two or three Confederate regiments 
marched out and deployed in line of battle ; but it was not 
Stannard's purpose to bring on an engagement, and having 
gained the needed information he withdrew without further 

The regiment was with the brigade at Williamsburg, and 

1 The sword bore the inscription: " Presented to Colonel H. Whiting 
by the Privates of the Second Regiment, Vt. Vols. Fiat Justitia." 

2 William Fuller of Co. F. , killed outright by a piece of shell, and John 
H. Savory, Co. B. , mortally wounded. He died of his wound two days after. 

3 All of Co. A. Louis Wood was killed outright by a bullet, L. M. 
Towsley was mortally wounded, and Lucius Carpenter, who with another 
man went to bring in Wood's body, was killed while stooping over the body 
of his dead comrade. 


did its share of marching and digging and picket duty on 
the march toward Richmond and in the operations on the 
Chickahominy, which occupied the months of May and June, 

During the spring and early summer of 1862, some im- 
portant changes of field and staff officers took place. In 
April, Quartermaster Pitkin, having been promoted to be 
captain and A. Q. M. of volunteers, left the regiment, to the 
general regret, for a new field of duty, and Quartermaster's 
Sergeant Lauriston L. Stone succeeded him as quartermaster. 
On the 21st of May, Lieutenant Colonel Stannard was ap- 
pointed colonel of the Ninth, then in process of recruiting,, 
and returned to Vermont to assist in the organization of that 
regiment. His departure was a serious loss to the Second 
regiment ; for he had the confidence of officers and men, and 
had shown himself a capable and trusty commander during 
the prolonged absences of Colonel "Whiting upon military 
commissions and court martials. Major Joyce was promoted 
to the lieutenant colonelcy, and Captain Walbridge, the rank- 
ing captain in the line, became major. On the 21st of June, 
Assistant Surgeon Carpenter was appointed surgeon of the 
Ninth Yermont ; but he remained with the Second through 
the Seven Days' Eetreat, when he left to assume his new 
position. He had become endeared to the men by his faithful 
care, especially during the sickly time on the Chickahominy ; 
while his coolness in danger notably in the surprise and 
sudden cannonade at White Oak Bridge, where he was active 
in rallying the men when some in more responsible positions 
were seeking the shelter of friendly trees gave him an 
added title to their respect. His departure was universally 
regretted in the regiment, and indeed throughout the brigade. 

On the 8th of July, Chaplain Smith resigned and de- 
parted. He was succeeded in August by Rev. D. W. Dayton, 
a Methodist Episcopal clergyman, of high character, who 
held the office of chaplain for five months. 


That the regiment was in excellent condition at this time, 
as regards drill and appearance, is indicated by the fact 
that it was selected to represent the Vermont brigade on 
the 9th of June, in a review of a portion of General Smith's 
division by the Spanish General Prim, 1 who was accompanied 
by the Count De Paris, of General McClellan's staff, General 
Smith, and General W. T. H. Brooks. The troops reviewed 
consisted of one regiment from each brigade of General 
Smith's division. 

The regiment had its share of hardship during the 
Seven Days' Ketreat, and lost five men killed and 38 wounded 
at Savage's Station, June 29th. a At the storming of Cramp- 
ton's Gap, September 14th, the regiment had one man 
wounded. At Antietam, September 17th, the regiment lost 
one man killed 3 and several wounded. 

On the llth of October, when General J. E. B. Stuart, 
with a force of 2000 Confederate cavalry, was for the second 
time riding round McClellan's army, the regiment, under 
command of Lieutenant Colonel Joyce, 4 was, with the Fifth 
Vermont, detached from the brigade which was at Hagers- 
town, Md., with the Sixth Corps and sent by rail to 
Chambersburg, Pa., to head off Stuart, who had occupied the 
town, destroyed some public property, and had left on his 
winding way before they started. They remained there, 

1 Commander of the troops sent by Spain to Mexico, under the British, 
French and Spanish convention of October 31 , 1861. 

2 The men killed at Savage's Station were George Ballard, Co. B ; 
William W. Clark, Co. C ; Adam Smith, Co. E ; Freeman Hunter and Cal- 
vin Clair, Co* K. Three others died of their wounds, viz: Henry K. Good- 
win, musician, Co. E; Stephen Anderson, Co. F; and Curtis B.Moore, 
Co. G. Thirty-nine men were reported missing at the close of the Seven 
Days' Retreat. Of these 25 were wounded men, captured at Savage's 
Station. The rest fell out on the march and subsequently rejoined their 

3 William Lecor of Co. A. 

4 Colonel Whiting being absent on leave. 


doing guard duty, for about a week, and then rejoined the 
brigade at Hagerstown: Two weeks later the regiment 
marched, with the army, back to Virginia, and went with the 
Sixth Corps to Acquia Creek, where on the 3d of December, 
the Second was detached from the brigade for a week, to 
guard the military telegraph line. It joined the brigade at 
Belle Plain, Ya., on the 10th of December. On the 13th of 
December, in Burnside's hopeless attempt to force the heights 
of Fredericksburg, the Second was deployed with the 

Fourth Vermont on the skirmish line of 
Dec. 13, 1862. , . . 

General Howe s division of the Sixth corps 

which was a portion of the Left Grand Division of the 
Army and after crossing the river, held the crest of a 
hill near the spot where the Richmond Stage-road crosses 
Deep Run. The skirmish line was pretty constantly engaged 
during the day, and until nearly dark. The men behaved 
well and, though strongly pressed several times, gave no 
ground to the enemy. The regiment lost five men killed and 
mortally wounded, 1 and 54 wounded, during the day- 
Before daylight next morning it was relieved by other troops ? 
on the 15th it re-crossed the river, and on the 19th marched 
back to Belle Plain with the brigade. In the report of the 
brigade commander, Major Walbridge, commanding the regi- 
ment, and acting-Major Tyler were mentioned as deserving 
special praise for gallant conduct. A fortnight later, Decem- 
ber 29th, the regiment was sent to Belle Plain Landing and 
was employed in fatigue dutv, unloading forage and building 
roads, for three weeks. It was detached for picket duty, 
while the rest of the brigade participated in Burnside's second 
unsuccessful attempt to cross the Kappahannock. It rejoined 
the brigade on the 22d of January, and remained in camp 

1 These were privates E. E. Balch and F. E. Smith, of Company A 
and Joseph 8. Hastings, Alonzo E. Moore and Eben E. Whitney, of Com. 
pany I. 


near White Oak Church, during the remainder of that un- 
eventful winter. 

Some further important changes of officers occurred dur- 
ing the winter. On the 18th of December, Surgeon Ballou 
was promoted to the medical directorship of the division, and 
was succeeded as surgeon by Assistant Surgeon Sawin. 1 

On the 6th of January, Lieutenant Colonel Joyce re- 
signed under surgeon's advice, and Major Walbridge was 
promoted to the vacancy. On the same day Chaplain Day- 
ton resigned, and from that time on the regiment was without 
a chaplain. 

On the 9th of February, Colonel Whiting resigned. He 
had long been dissatisfied at the neglect of what he con- 
sidered to be his just claim for promotion. The ranking 
colonel of the brigade, he had seen General Smith, his junior, 
rapidly advanced to the successive commands of the brigade, 
division and corps. He considered himself entitled to the 
command of the brigade when it was given to General Brooks, 
but submitted with good grace. General Brooks in time was 
promoted to the command of a division, and the command 
of the Vermont brigade devolved on Colonel Whiting, but 
still the expected promotion was withheld ; and when finally 
Colonel E. H. Stoughton, the youngest colonel in the brigade, 
was promoted past him, Colonel Whiting thought it time 
to retire. At General Howe's request he postponed action 
in the matter for a few weeks and then sent in his resigna- 
tion, which was accepted. 2 

1 Dr. Sawin entered the service in the Tenth Massachusetts Volunteers ; 
was transferred from that regiment as a private, in September, 1861, to the 
Third Vermont, and from the ranks of that regiment was appointed 
assistant surgeon of the Second. He remained surgeon of the Second till 
June, 1864, when his term of service expired. 

* His letter of resignation was as follows : 


Headquarters Second Brigade, Feb. 2, 1863. j 

SIR, Having esteemed it my duty on account of having received a mili- 
tary education, to offer my services in this war, and having found that 


Colonel Whiting retired to his home in Michigan with 
the reputation of a careful and conscientious officer, who 
looked faithfully to the welfare of his men and meant to do 
his duty. He had survived the early prejudice against him 
among his men and carried with him the friendship and best 
wishes of many of the officers who at one time signed a peti- 
tion requesting him to resign. On his part he held the Yer- 
monters under him, with a few individual exceptions, in high 
esteem, and never lost his regard for them. 1 

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Walbridge succeeded to 
the colonelcy. He was of patriotic lineage, being the grand- 
son of General Ebenezer Walbridge, who was one of the 
pioneers in the settlement of Bennington County, active in 
the early struggles of Vermont for independence, an officer 
of Seth Warner's regiment of Green Mountain Boys in the 
campaign against Quebec in 1776, adjutant of the regiment 
in the battle of Bennington, and subsequently a colonel and 
general of militia, during and after the War of the Revolu- 
tion. He followed the sea for several years in his youth and 
then went to California, and was employed in the State 

though the regiment which I have had the honor to command is admitted 
to be one of the best in the service, it having at all times performed all that 
has been asked of it, as well as the Second Brigade since I have commanded 
it; it is therefore believed by me that my undertaking has not been a 
failure, in point of a full, hearty and effectual service. Still I now find 
myself at that point where I have no doubt that it is my duty to resign. 

I do therefore hereby resign my commission as Colonel Second Vermont 
Infantry, and consequently the command of the Second Brigade. Though 
the first colonel mustered into service in the first five Vermont regiments, 
I am the only one now holding that office, and of the field and staff of the 
first three Vermont regiments I am the only one. I have served an age and 
am entitled to an honorable discharge. I have the honor to be, 
Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

Lieut. Col. E. Mattocks, A. A. G. , 2d Div. , 6th Corps. 

1 "With regard to the Vermont troops, I feel like the boy who was 
directed to skim the milk, put up the cream and take the milk for his 
dinner. He said the cream was good enough for him. So I say the Ver- 
mont troops are good enough for me." Letter of Colonel Whiting. 


printing office in San Francisco, when, in 1856, the famous 
Yigilance Committee was organized to put down ruffianism 
and maintain order in that city. Of this he was an active 
member, and received his first military training in the drills 
by which the committee prepared itself to use arms if neces- 
sary. At the outbreak of the civil war, he was at his former 
home in Bennington ; was among the first to respond to the 
call for three years' men, was chosen captain of his company, 
and received the first commission issued in Vermont to an 
.officer of a three years' regiment. He had shown himself 
cool and efficient in action, and capable in command in the 
intermediate grades of rank, and now brought to the colonelcy, 
experience, fidelity, and recognized ability. Major Newton 
Stone succeeded him as lieutenant colonel and Captain John 
S. Tyler, of Co. C., was appointed major. 

No other changes of field officers took place till the 
vacancies made by the slaughter in the Wilderness, more 
than a year later, were filled. 

The Winter of 1862-3 and the Spring were occupied in 
picket and guard duty and drill, till May brought a resump- 
tion of active hostilities, in the Chancellorsville campaign. 
In the storming of the heights of Fredericksburg, on the 3d 
of May, by Howe's Division, which was so glorious a feature 
of that inglorious campaign, the Second, under Colonel Wai- 
bridge, was distinguished by its gallantry and its loss. 
Though forming part of the second line in the assault, it was 
one of the first regiments which gained the crest of Marye's 
famous heights and drove the enemy from his works, captur- 
ing three guns, and, supported by the Thirty-Third New 
York and Seventh Maine, it held the position, with a loss of 
11 men killed and 94 wounded, five of them mortally, 1 

1 The killed were Josiah W. Norcross of Company A ; Robert P. 
Lord and George A. Rice of Company C ; Frederick W. Chamberla.u 
and Thomas R. Williams of Company E ; Amos N. Bennett, Harry 
Hall and Franklin E. Minard of Company F; Sumner E. Parker of 


the entire loss of the rest of the brigade being one killed and 
15 wounded. Among the severely wounded were Captain 
Horace F. Grossman, of Montpelier, Company F, who lost 
a leg, 1 and Captain A. S. Tracy, of Middlebury, Company H. 
In the battle near Banks' Ford, next day, when the Vermont 
brigade repulsed superior numbers and covered the crossing 
of the Sixth corps, the regiment was again sharply engaged, 
and held its ground against repeated assaults, with a loss of 
six killed and 20 wounded, 2 four of whom died of their 
wounds. Among the latter was First Lieutenant F. A. 
Gleason of Company C, who died of his wounds May 30th. 

Colonel Walbridge and Lieutenant John J. Bain, acting 
Aide-de-Camp on Colonel Grant's staff, were especially men- 
tioned for gallantry, in Colonel L. A. Grant's official report. 

The regiment remained in camp with the brigade at White 
Oak Church, for a month, till on the 5th of Juno Howe's 
division was again thrown across the Kappahannock in order 
to ascertain whether or no General Lee, whose northern 
march for the invasion of Pennsylvania had now begun, had 
withdrawn the division which had been stationed around 
Fredericksburg. The Second crossed the river in pontoon 
boats, and advanced with the brigade half a mile beyond the 
river, pushing back the enemy ; the latter was found to be 
there in force, and the brigade re-crossed the river 48 hours 
later, and remained in camp on the eastern side till the 13th, 

of Company H ; Philip W. Crosby of Company I ; and Daniel McKinn of 
Company K. C. S. Samson of Company A; Patrick Burgin of Company 
D ; Truman O. Brown of Company E ; L. K. Harris of Company F ; and 
R. M. Worthing of Company H died of their wounds. 

1 Captain Crossman's leg was amputated a few days after the engage- 
ment. He was honorably discharged, for disability resulting from this 
wound, October 30th, 1863. 

2 The killed were Madison Cook, Warren Houghton and John M. 
Lamphear, of Co. C ; Chauncey L. Church, of Co. G ; William Higgins 
and John P. Perry, of Co. K ; D. Hazelton and J. Ryan of Co. G, and 
H. E. Soule of Co. H. died of their wounds. 


when it started for the north with the Sixth corps. It shared 
in the toilsome march over the familiar route through Fairfax 
and Centreville, and on through Maryland and to Gettysburg. 

In the famous affair with Anderson's Georgia brigade at 
Funkstown, Md., on the 10th of July, described in a subse- 
quent chapter, the Second took an honorable part and had 
one man killed. 1 

On the 1st of August, the regiment being then in camp 
with the brigade near Warrenton, Va., the morning report 
showed an aggregate of 801 men, of whom 141 were sick. 
The health of the regiment improved rapidly during its 
stay at Warrenton. On August 14th the regiment went with 
the brigade to New York, to maintain order during the draft, 
and after a stay of two weeks in the city was sent by steamer 
to Poughkeepsie, N. Y., where it remained eight days. It 
won high praise from the press and people of both those 
cities, for its discipline and good conduct. 2 A number of the 
officers and men took advantage of their nearness to home at 
Poughkeepsie, to send for their wives and families, and many 
pleasant family reunions marked their stay in that city. 

On the 13th of September the regiment returned to 
New York, went thence to Alexandria, where the brigade 
concentrated on the 16th, next day marched out to Fair- 
fax Court House, and on the 22d joined the Sixth corps 
encamped near Culpepper Court House. The Second ac- 
companied the brigade in the various marchings and counter- 
marchings of the Sixth corps in the region between Bull 

1 Corporal Walter J. Kurd, Company K. 

2 The appearance of the rank and file of these war-scarred veterans 
[of the Second Vermont] as they marched up the street with heavy tread 
in the dead of night, was grand and imposing. * * * They have been 
on duty in the city of New York during the draft in that district, and their 
presence in that city was marked by politeness and orderly conduct. The 
citizens among whom they were quartered speak highly of their character 
as a regiment, and regret that they left so soon. Poughkeepsie JSagle, Sept. 
6th, 1863. 


Eun and the Kappahannock during the month of October. 
On the 18th of October, it was marching from Centreville 
to Gainesville over the turnpike across which it made its 
first advance into battle, and in sight of the slope on which 
it met the enemy at the first Bull Kun. 

On the 26th, the regiment being then in camp with the 
brigade at Warrenton, it had the misfortune to lose its quar- 
termaster, who was captured by Mosby, the guerrilla chief- 
tain. Quartermaster Stone was near New Baltimore, Va., 
five miles northwest of Warrenton, on his way to camp with 
a supply train of twenty wagons, when he was overtaken by 
Colonel Mosby with a hundred men of his irregular cavalry. 
These were dressed in the Federal army blue, and at first 
represented themselves to be a squadron of the Eighteenth 
Pennsylvania cavalry. Soon announcing himself, Mosby 
made Stone a prisoner, together with his brother, J. P. Stone, 
who accompanied him, 1 his cook, trainmaster, blacksmith, 
and twenty teamsters. The mules were run off, the train 
plundered and destroyed, and a considerable sum in money 
belonging to the government, in the quartermaster's posses- 
sion, was confiscated by his captor. 

The regiment was under artillery fire at Eappahannock 
Station on the 7th of November, without loss, and had a 
similar experience on the 27th of November, during General 
Meade's advance to Mine Eun, south of the Eapidan. On 
the 28th, a large part of the regiment was on picket on the 
right of the army, near Mine Eun, and all suffered severely 
from a cold rain storm. The next night men froze at their 
posts. 2 The men suffered from exposure, and occasionally 

1 Sons of Rev. L. H, Stone of Northfield, the chaplain of the First Ver- 
mont. Lieutenant Stone was a prisoner for over 13 months, being finally 
exchanged at Charleston, S. C., December 4th, 1864. 

2 "Many of the men who were on the picket line that day, [November 
30th] and the night before, were found when the relief came around, dead 
at their posts, frozen. Surgeon Stevens, Three Years in the Sixth Corps, 
p. 297. 


from hunger during this, the last offensive movement of the 
Army of the Potomac in the fall campaign of 1863 ; but came 
out of it in better condition than might have been expected. 
On the 1st of December the sick numbered 124 in an 
aggregate of 934 officers and men, and on the 1st of January, 
1864, 110 were on the sick list in an aggregate of 931. 

On the 18th of December, the regiment had the novel 
and painful experience of witnessing the execution of one 
of their number for desertion. He was a young recruit, 
named George E. Blowers, who had enlisted three months 
previously and had been assigned to Co. A., of the Second 
regiment. He and a man of the Fifth Vermont named 
John Tague, had been convicted by a General Court Mar- 
tial of desertion under aggravated circumstances. That 
military crime was becoming frequent and the army 
authorities had decided that some examples must be made. 
The men were sentenced to be shot to death by musketry, 
and the sentence was executed in the presence of the entire 
division. At three o'clock in the afternoon, Gen. Howe's divi- 
sion was formed in three sides of a hollow square, enclosing 
the commanding general and his staff. The prisoners were 
brought in in ambulances, guarded by 24 men of the Provost 
guard, to whom was entrusted the execution of the sentence. 
After the reading by the Asst. Adjutant General of the 
division of the findings and sentences of the court martial, 
prayer was offered by Chaplain Mack of the Third Vermont ; 
the men knelt on their coffins ; and each placing his right 
hand over his heart as a signal that he was ready for death, 
the muskets rang out at the word of command, and both fell 
forward and expired instantly. It was a solemn transaction 
and made a deep sensation in the regiment. Blowers was 
the only man of the Second Vermont executed for desertion 
during the war, though several members of the regiment were 
sent to the Dry Tortugas and otherwise punished for the 
same offence. 


During the month of December 167 men of the Second 
re-enlisted, under an order of the War Department author- 
izing (and paying a bounty of $402 for) the re-enlistment of 
men having less than one year of the original term of enlist- 
ment to serve ; and in the following months of January and 
February, 14 more re-enlisted, making a total of 181. 

The regiment was in camp with the brigade and the 
corps, at Brandy Station, during the winter of 1863-4, with 
the exception of five days, from February 27th to March 2d, 
during which the Sixth corps w r as sent to Madison Court 
House, to support General Ouster's cavalry expedition to 
Charlottesville, Ya. There was no fighting, but the march back 
from Madison Court House in the mud was a trying one. The 
winter was on the whole a cheerful and comfortable one, and 
the health of the regiment improved, till on the 30th of April, 
1864, but 77 men were reported sick, in an aggregate of 941 
the smallest proportion of sick men ever reported while the 
regiment was in the field. 

On the 1st of April, Colonel Walbridge, who had been 
for some time a sufferer from chronic rheumatism affecting his 
lower limbs, resigned, and Lieut. Colonel Newton Stone suc- 
ceeded him as colonel. 

Colonel Stone was the son of Rev. Ambrose Stone of 
Eeadsboro. He had selected the law as his profession 
and Bennington as his place of residence and business, and 
had before him the prospect of a successful professional 
career, when, at the age of 23, he enlisted and went out as 
First Lieutenant of Co. A. of the Second Vermont. He had 
repeatedly distinguished himself in battle, and reached the 
colonelcy by successive promotions through all the interme- 
diate ranks. His term of command was brief but glorious, 
ending a month later in the murderous Wilderness. 

On the 4th of May, 1864, the regiment marched with the 
Sixth corps and the army, to take its share of the perils and 
glory of General Grant's overland campaign. In the battles of 


the Wilderness, May 5th and 6th, the Second fought with 
the old brigade on the left of the Orange Plank-road. It was 
on the first day placed in the second line, its right resting on 
the Plank-road, but moved forward into the front line, after 
the fighting became severe, and did some of the hardest and 
best fighting that was done in those two bloody days, at a 
fearful cost. Its gallant young commander was killed on the 
5th. About five o'clock in the afternoon Colonel Stone re- 
ceived a flesh wound in the leg, and was taken to the rear. 
As soon as the wound was dressed he called for his horse, 
and rode back to the front. The men greeted him with cheers, 
as he rejoined his command, which was sturdily holding its 
ground under a fearful fire of musketry. He addressed 
them as follows : " Well, boys, this is rough work : but I 
have done as I told you I wished you to do, not to leave for 
a slight wound, but to remain just as long as you can do any 
good. I am here to stay as long as I can do any good." He 
then rode along the line, speaking a word of cheer to every 
company. As he halted to address Company B, a musket ball 
entered his head, and he fell from his horse a corpse. When 
the regiment was withdrawn to the rear, the enemy pressed 
forward over the ground it had held, and Colonel Stone's 
body fell into their hands. The enemy again falling back, it 
was soon after recovered, and was finally taken to Bennington 
for burial. 1 

After Colonel Stone's death the command devolved upon 
Lieutenant Colonel Tyler, a boy in years, but a brave and 
capable officer. He did not hold it long, for just before dark, 
as he was directing the movement of the regiment to the 
position on the Brock Koad which it held at nightfall, a 
musket ball passed through his thigh, inflicting a wound 
which proved mortal. Though conscious that it was a very 

1 General L. A. Grant in his report said of Colonel Stone : " He was a 
good officer, gallant by nature, prompt in his duties, and urbane in his man- 
ners. He was beloved by his command, and by all who knew him." 


dangerous injury he ordered the men who ran to nelp 
him back to the ranks, telling them that every musket was 
needed in the line. He was assisted to the rear and taken to 
Fredericks burg ; and thence, at his own desire, was removed 
to his home in Yermont ; but did not reach it alive. In 
recognition of his services and merit a commission as colonel 
was issued to him by Governor Smith after his death, and his 
name thus stands enrolled among the colonels of the Second. 

Colonel Tyler was the son of Eev. Pitman Tyler of 
Brattleboro. He enlisted at the age of nineteen years, and 
went out as first lieutenant of Company C. He showed 
especial gallantry and aptitude for command, and was ad- 
vanced as vacancies occurred, through the successive grades 
of captain, major and lieutenant colonel. He was barely cf 
age at his death. He died in the Metropolitan Hotel in New 
York city, May 21st, sixteen days after he was wounded. He 
was buried at Brattleboro with military honors. 1 

In the second day of the battle of the "Wilderness, the 
regiment having no field officer left, Major Tracy having been 
disabled by injuries received May 3d by a fall from his horse, 
it was placed under the capable command of Lieut. 
Colonel S. E. Pingree of the Third Yermont, and fought 
under him with unabated resolution. The losses of the regi- 

1 General L. A. Grant in reporting Colonel Tyler's death said: "He 
was an officer of great promise. Always cool, especially in battle, he could 
be relied upon. His loss is deeply felt." 

In a letter addressed to Hon. Royal Tyler of Brattleboro, Governor 
John Gregory Smith said : "As a slight testimonial of my high appreciation 
of the services rendered by your nephew, the late John S. Tyler, Lieutenant 
Colonel of the Second Regiment, Vermont Volunteers, I have directed a 
commission to be issued, dating the same at a period prior to his death, and 
promoting him to the colonelcy of his regiment, a position which by his 
valor he had so gallantly won, and to which he was justly entitled. The 
tribute to his memory thus conferred, while it cannot reach him or add to 
his laurels, may be a source of gratification to his numerous friends, as it is 
of pleasure to me, and is but a fitting recognition of the noble sacrifice which 
he made for his country." 


ment in this battle, were greater than in any other battle 
of the war, and showed both the desperate character of the 
service required of it, and the spirit with which it stood up 
to its work. Its casualties exceeded those of any other re- 
giment in the brigade. They numbered but three less than 
300, in a total of about 800 present for duty, or about 37 
per cent. Of these 57 were killed and mortally wounded, 
208 less severely wounded, and 32 missing total 297. Hardly 
any unwounded men were taken prisoners, and most of the 
" missing" belong in the lists of killed and wounded. Among 
the killed were Captain Orville Bixby and Sergeant-Major 
Z. Ufford, and among the wounded were ten line officers, 
viz : Captains E. Wales, P. E. Chase, D. S. White, E. 
G. Ballou and W. H. Cady, and Lieutenants J. P. Sawyer, 
James Allen, George Bridgman, E. M. Drury and John 
J. Bain, the latter being acting Aid-de-Camp to the 
Brigade Commander. Among those captured was Lieut- 
enant Henry Carroll, of Co. K. Lieutenant Carroll re- 
mained for six months in the enemy's hands till, on the 
1st of November 1864, he escaped from the prison at 
Columbia, S. C., and made his way to the Union lines 
at Nashville, Tenn., after a toilsome foot journey of two 
months' duration. 1 

In the twelve trying days before the lines of Spottsylva- 
nia, the Second participated in the hard fighting and almost 
harder night and day marching of the old brigade. On the 
10th of May it formed a part of the storming column of 
twelve picked regiments, which, under Colonel Upton, 
charged the enemy's centre, carried the works in front 
of them for a quarter of a mile, and captured a brigade 
of over a thousand men and a battery. Some of the 
men of the Second remained in the works till late in 

1 Captain Wales was bre vetted major for gallantry in this battle. 
Private Thomas J. Colby, Co. F., served as mounted orderly and re- 
ceived honorable mention in General L. A. Grant's official report. 


the evening, long after the column had fallen back. It fought 
at the famous " bloody angle" on the 12th of May, under the 
command of Captain Dayton P. Clarke 1 the regiment having 
no field officer of its own, and Lieut. Colonel S. E. Pin- 
gree, its temporary commander, being then in command 
of the picket line on the right and sustained losses which 
increased the total of its casualties in the campaign to 440, 
or over one half of its aggregate for duty when it crossed 
the Eapidan. Among the wounded in this affair were 
Captain Ward of Co. B. and Lieutenants Estes, Co. A., 
Worcester, Co. F., and Priest, Co. I. 

During the last day of severe fighting at Spottsylvania 
on the 18th, the regiment was under sharp artillery fire, 
south of Spottsylvania Court House, and had ten men killed 
and wounded by the explosion of a single shell, 2 besides other 

At Cold Harbor, June 1st, the regiment again distin- 
guished itself, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Pin- 
gree, charging the enemy's works under heavy fire, and es- 
tablishing itself within speaking distance of the enemy ; and 
during the ten days of constant and active hostilities which 
followed, the Second took its turns in the front line, with the 
other regiments of the Old Brigade. In the assault of June 
3d, Lieutenant Hiram Bailey, of Brandon, Co. B., was 
killed ; and when the fighting of Grant's Overland Compaign 
ended on the 12th of June, the casualties of the regiment 

1 Captain Clarke is mentioned by General L. A. Grant in his report, as 
having specially distinguished himself on that occasion. Quartermaster A. 
J. Bobbins is also specially mentioned. He was seriously wounded in the 
engagement of May 12th. 

2 Two killed, H. P. Ford and Joseph Kehoe, and eight wounded. One 
of the latter, Henry Amblow, of Co. G, lay on the field with a shattered ankle 
for eight days, before he was found, sustained during the time only by the 
small amount of food in his haversack. When found by the enemy 
mortification had set in, and he died, after amputation, a week later. 


aggregated 47782 killed, 359 wounded, 50 of whom died of 
their wounds, and 40 missing. 1 

In the action of the 18th of June in front of Petersburg 
the regiment was on the skirmish line, with the Fifth regi- 
ment, and had two men wounded. 

On the 19th of June 1864 the term of service of the 
original members of the regiment expired, and as many of 
them as had not re-enlisted being 19 officers and 200 men 
were relieved from duty, and started next day for Vermont, 
where they were mustered out, at Brattleboro, on the 29th of 
June. The officers so retiring from the service were Adjutant 
Edgerton, Surgeon Sawin, Captains W. H. Cady, D. P. Clark, 
and P. E. Chase ; First Lieutenants E. O. Cole, J. P. Sawyer, 
James Allen, J. J. Bain, A. Worcester, E. A. Priest, and E. N. 
Drury; and Second Lieutenants O. Y. Estes, A. J. Robbing, 

B. W. Hight, E. A. Tilden, H. E. Hayward, G. W. Bridgman, 
and O. G. Howe. Most of these officers, and many of the 
men, bore the scars of honorable wounds, some not yet 
healed ; and their departure took some of the best soldiers in 
the regiment. The general regret felt thereat not only in 

1 The list of rank and file who were killed or died of wounds received 
in the campaign from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, is as follows : 

Co. A. J. Alsop, Ira Allen, W. E. Barrows, E. Grace, H. S. Hill, W. 

C. Jackson, S. Matteson, J. W. Niles, John Powers, H. A. Richardson, D. 
Ryan, A. J. Vorce, H. A. Fuller. 13, 

Co. B. C. Bailey, C. S. Barber, B. Cargill, T. P. Dunham, J. McKean 

D. A. Patch, M. P. Wood. 7. 

Co. C. G. N. Beckwith, W. Cole, J. Donohue, A. R. Doyon, J. Fannef, 

E. B. Fisher, L. Goodell, G. S. Gray, A. Guiette, F. M. Miller, N. A. Peck, 
I. 8. Scott. 12. 

Co. D. A. Bean, V. F. Crane, J. D. Cummins, W. S. George, O. Gil- 
man, J. K. Hall, R. Hawkins, C. L. Holmes, D. A. Houghton, G. Hubbard, 
W. G. Kelly, C. Nye, I. Piper, C. Saunders, N. E. Scribner, H. Stone, W. 
S. Stone, T. Wood, L. Woodward. 19. 

Co. E. W. Clark, D. N. Cushman, G. W. Durrell, F. P. Ellsworth, P. 
Emery, J. E. Foster, E. Goodwin, A. M. Magoon, G. H. Noyes, W. M. 
Noyes, A. Rust, W. H. Sanborn, N. F. Smith, Edward H. Smith, Charles 
Tillison. 15. 

Co. F. B. L. Fortin, I. J. Hargin, C. B. Jacko, M. Johnson, W. A. 


the Vermont brigade, but throughout the Second division, 
and indeed throughout the Sixth corps, was expressed in the 
following handsome order from their division commander : 

June 20th, 1864. ) 

GENERAL ORDER No. 36 It is not necessary that any regiment of the 
Vermont brigade should have their deeds recounted, or their praises sung 
in general orders. How many well fought and bloody fields bear witness 
to their bravery! Least of all do you, the soldiers of the Second Ver- 
mont, the veterans of the brigade, who have shed your blood on almost 
every field from the first Bull Run, need a panegyrist. Your deeds speak 
for themselves, and will keep your memory green, while courage, steadi- 
ness and devotion to duty are honored among men. But that you may 
know how your general and your comrades regret and mourn your de- 
parture, and to bid you farewell and Godspeed, this order is written. 
Again farewell, brave and noble men. For three years you have borne the 
brunt of battle, and now returning home with scarce a tithe of your original 
numbers, with just pride you can proclaim that you have done your duty. 
You have fulfilled your compact. History will record your services. Let 
this order express the feelings of those you leave behind. 
By order of Brig. General Neill. 


The end of the three years' term, found but 370 of the 
866 original members of the regiment left. The rest, 496 in 
number, had been killed or had died of disease, been dis- 
charged, or had deserted. The re-enlisted veterans, origin- 
ally 181 in number, but now reduced by death to 150, 
some thirty of them having been killed since their re-enlist- 

Kelton, W. Labounty, G. Lawrence, S. D. Mahoney, J. Mitchell, E Shorey, 
H. Stoddard, Wm. Stone. 12. 

Co. G. H. Amblow, H. J. Bass, E. C. Bragg, F. Cook, C. E. Day, 
H. Dickinson, H. P. Ford, E. P. Gibbs, D. Hanly, J. Kehoe, P. W. Reed, 
H. Reed, F. Salters, W. S. Smith, T. Train, G. H. Wilder. 16. 

Co. H. L. Brooks, J. C. Felton, H. Howe, G. A. Kneeland, J. Laird, 
F. Marshall, B. McLeod, W. Minogue, M. Pelka, E. W. Squires, G. A. 
White. 11. 

Co. I. J. W. Adams, J. E. Butterfield, I. D. Clark, G. A. French, 
S. B. Gleason, C. C. Grant, M. E. Grover, P. Halpin, E. G. Holmes, G. W. 
Parker, D. A. Scofield, J. Story, P. Swazy, J. Sweeny, A. Sweetland, O. K. 
Ward. 16. 

Co. K. J. Bovia, E. Brooks, T. G. Gardner, J. W. Grant, J. Kelley, 
C. L. Norton, G. W. York. 7. 


merit, with the recruits, 410 in number who had been added 
from time to time, made a regiment of 560 men, which re- 
mained in the field. 1 Its field and staff officers were Lieut. 
Colonel Amasa S. Tracy and Major Enoch E. Johnson, who 
had been promoted to those positions on the 17th of June ; 
Surgeon Melvin J. Hyde, Assistant Surgeon E. R. Brush, 
and Quartermaster L. L. Stone. Four captains remained, 
viz : Eollin C. Ward, Elijah Wales, John T. Bass, and Daniel 
S. White. As Captain White had been disabled by a wound 
in the Wilderness, no less than seven of the companies were 
commanded at this time by lieutenants or sergeants. The 
companies did not average over 25 rank and file for duty, 
and some of them had but about half that number of mus- 
kets in line. 2 It was the lowest period, as regarded numbers 
present for duty, in the entire history of the regiment. 

On the 19th of June, the regiment, what was left of it, 
was under an active but ineffective artillery fire, in front of 
Petersburg. On the 23d it participated in the movement of 
the Sixth corps against the Weldon Kailroad, in which, 
the Fourth and Eleventh Vermont suffered so severely. 
It was at Eeam's Station, with the Sixth corps, on the 29th, 
and when the corps was detached from the army on the 10th 
of July, to protect Washington from capture by General 
Early, it marched with the Vermont brigade to City Point, 
went thence by transport to Washington ; assisted in driving 
the enemy from before the defences of the national Capital, 
and shared the fatigues of the next month of hard marching 

1 Of this number, however, only 273 were present for duty. 

2 Co. G. crossed the Kapidan May 4th, with 64 men. On the 7th of 
June, first Sergeant Aldrich, commanding company, reported ten men 
present for duty. In this one company in five weeks the casualties were ; 
killed and mortally wounded, 7; severely wounded, 30, of whom 7 sub- 
sequently died ; slightly wounded, 9 ; missing, 5, of whom 2 were sup- 
posed to be killed, and 3 prisoners. Co. H. had 68 men for duty May 4th . 
after Spottsylvania it had 14. Its killed and wounded numbered 42, and 
missing, 6. Co. D. lost still more'heavily. So of other companies. 


to Snicker's Gap, Harper's Ferry, into Maryland and in the 
Shenandoah Valley. 

Near Strasburg, Virginia, on the 14th of August, the 
Second formed part of the force with which General Sheridan 
was feeling the enemy on Fisher's Hill, and lost two men, 
wounded, on the skirmish line. In the notable engagement 
of the 21st of August, at Charlestown, Va., the regiment, 
under command of Lieut. Colonel Tracy, was sharply engaged 
and lost five men killed and 11 wounded. 

In the battle of Winchester, on the 19th of September, 
the regiment distinguished itself and lost five men killed and 
mortally wounded 1 and 29 wounded. Lieutenant Colonel 
Tracy superintended for a time a portion of the line, though 
suffering from a disability, which shortly compelled him to re- 
linquish the command to Major Enoch Johnson, by whom it 
was gallantly led. a It participated with the brigade in the 
battle of Fisher's Hill, and though suffering no loss earned 
its fair share of the glory of that splendid victory. 

At Cedar Creek, on the 19th of October, the regiment, 
under command of Captain Elijah "Wales, Lieut. Colonel 
Tracy being for the time in command of the brigade, held 
the skirmish line in front of Getty's division of the Sixth 
corps, when it made its final stand and checked Early's 
advance. During the rest of the day it marched and fought, 
in retreat and in advance, with the brigade, losing three 
men killed, 31 wounded and four missing. Among the 
wounded was Lieut. Colonel Tracy, whose services are especi- 
ally mentioned in General L. A. Grant's report. While 
inspecting the skirmish line after General Sheridan's arrival 
on the field he received a serious wound from a fragment 

1 Co. A J. Camp, M. M. Clough, C. Curtice. Co. E J. A. Walcott. 
Co. H -J. C. Hutchinson. 

8 Major Johnson's services on this occasion were especially recognized 
in the report of the brigade commander, as were those of Lieut. Colonel 


of a shell in his left hip, previously injured by a fall from 
his horse. His wound disabled him for several months, 
during which the command of the regiment devolved on 
Major Enoch E. Johnson, who was bre vetted lieutenant 
colonel for his gallantry at Cedar Creek. 

The morning report of October 31st, at Strasburg, Ya., 
showed an aggregate of 560 men, of whom 227 were sick and 
19 prisoners. 1 

The regiment remained in the Shenandoah Yalley till 
December 9th, when with the rest of the Sixth corps the 
brigade was removed by rail and transports to Petersburg, 
and went into winter quarters on the lines on the south side 
of Petersburg, near the Weldon Eailroad, the Second hold- 
ing the right of the brigade. The rest of the winter was 
spent in severe picket service and fatigue duty on the forts. 
In February, Lieut. Colonel Tracy sent in his resignation 
on account of disability from his wound received at Cedar 
Creek, but withdrew it at the request of his superior officers. 

On the 25th of March, 1865, the regiment (with the 
brigade), charged and carried and held the enemy's en- 
trenched picket line in front of Fort Fisher, with a loss of 
two men killed and 10 wounded. In the repulse of the 
enemy's attempt to retake this line on the 27th, five men of 
the Second were wounded. 

In the final victorious assault on the defences of Peters- 
burg on the 2d of April, the Second once more distinguished 
itself and lost eight men killed and 33 wounded. Among 
many individual instances of gallantry, that of Captain 
Wales in capturing, with two men, a field piece which they 

1 The killed and those who died of wounds in the Shenandoah Cam- 
paign under Sheridan, were as follows : Co. A., L. Wyman; Co. B., H. M. 
Clark; Co. C., M. Lynch; Co. D., D Crossman, Z. Hatch; Co. E., W. J. 
Foster, H. G. Hill, H. H. Lyman, W. Reed, J. E. Tupper; Co. F., J. B. 
Lute; Co. H., W. Howard, B. F. Hulburd, C. H. Stowe ; Co. K., A. H. 
Fields, T. McGilley, J. S. Sweeter, A. Ward, L. H. Welcome. 


turned and discharged upon the enemy, was conspicuous. 1 

The regiment joined in the pursuit of Lee's army after 
the fall of Richmond, and had a skirmish with the rear guard 
of the enemy in the evening of April 6th, at Sailor's Creek, 
Va., in which the last shot discharged in action by the Sixth 
corps is claimed, and so far as known without dispute, to 
have been fired by the Second Yermont. 

Lieut Colonel Tracy was commissioned as colonel on the 
7th of June, Major Johnson being promoted to the lieutenant 
colonelcy and Captain E. G. Ballou to be major. 3 

The regiment participated in the review of the Yermont 
troops, by Governor Smith, at Bailey's Cross Roads, Ya., 
on the 7th, and in the review of the Sixth corps by the Presi- 
dent of the United States on the 8th of June, 1865. The 
regiment then had an aggregate of 495 men, 149 of whom 
were on the sick list, and 312 present for duty. 

On the 19th of June, the recruits whose terms of service 
were to expire previous to October 1, 1865, about 300 in 
number, were mustered out. The remainder of the regiment 
remained at Ball's Cross Eoads, Ya., near Washington, till 
the 15th of July, when it was mustered out of the U. S. ser- 
vice. On the 16th the regiment left Washington for home. 
It arrived at Burlington on the morning of July 19th, with 
20 officers and 213 men, 60 of whom were original members 
of the regiment. The field and staff officers so returning 
were : Colonel A. S. Tracy, who went out with the regiment as 
first lieutenant of Co. K. ; Lieut. Colonel E. Johnson, who 
went out as second lieutenant of Co. B. ; Major E. E. Ballou, 

1 The killed and those who died of wounds in front of Petersburg in 
March and April, 1865, were as follows : Co. A., L. Carpenter, L. L. Jack- 
son; Co. B., J. W. Bromley, H. G. Ross; Co. D., T. Gormand; Co. E., 
W. Hurlburt, C. C. Morey, A. D. Spaulding ; Co. G., G. W. Sharpley ; 
Co. I., A. L. Benson, Albert Hathorn. 

2 Under the rules prescribed by the War Department, however, these 
officers were mustered out with the rank respectively, of lieutenant colonel, 
major, and captain. 


who went out as first sergeant of Co. I.; Surgeon M. J. 
Hyde, who joined the regiment as assistant surgeon in 
September, 1863 ; and Assistant Surgeon E. A. Brush, who 
went out as a drafted man in July, 1863, and was appointed 
assistant surgeon in October, 1863. The line officers return- 
ing were: Captain and Bvt. Major Elijah Wales, Captain 
and Bvt. Major E. W. Harrington, Captains William Bond, 
H. H. Prouty, W. B. Hurlbut, D. C. Dunham, and H. F. 
Taylor, and First Lieutenants James Howard, E. H. Fifielcl, 
A. Lessor, N. Fassett, G. W. Flagg, George Buck, and A. D. 

The regiment was met at the railroad station in Bur- 
lington, on its arrival, by a committee of citizens with the 
old band of the First brigade, N. D. Adams, leader, which 
though it had been mustered out of the service had retained 
its organization till now. At the city hall the veterans were 
received by Mayor Albert L. Catlin and welcomed home by 
Hon. George F. Edmunds in an eloquent address. After a 
breakfast, served by ladies and citizens in the hall, the regi- 
ment marched to its quarters at the U. S. Marine Hospital, 
where on the 25th and 26th the men were paid off for the last 
time, were mustered out, and then separated to their homes. 

A list of names, a list of battles and a table of significant 
figures, will close this regimental record.' 

The following men, in addition to those who died of 
wounds in Confederate prisons or hospitals, whose names 
have been included in previous lists of mortally wounded, are 
known to have died in the enemy's hands : 


Company A James Bailey, captured May, '64, died at Andersonville, 
July 11, '64; Enos Blair, captured May 21, '64; George A. Shumacker, 
captured May 26, '64. 

Company B Silas L. Hart, captured May 5, '64, died at Andersonville, 
October 12, '64; David B. Bateinan, died at Andersonville, July 15, '64; 
Giovanni Arbitraca, captured May 21, '64. 


Company D Nelson E. Dodge, captured May 10, '64, died at Ander- 
sonville ; William Cooley, captured May 12, '64, died at Andersonville, 
November 23, '64 ; Oren Bickley, Jr., captured May 10, '64, died at Ander- 

Company G Myron C. Palmer, captured May 21, '64, died at Savannah, 
October, '64 ; James McGuire, captured May 21, '64, died at Andersonville, 
September 20, '64. 

Company E Azro Buzzell, captured October 19, '64, died February 27, 
'65; Charles C. Richardson, captured May 12, '64, supposed dead. 

Company K John Skiddy, captured, May '64, died in Georgia, Oc- 
tober, '64; Thomas Simpson, captured May, '64, died at Florence, Ga.; 
Thomas Witham, captured May '64, died at Florence, Ga.; Patrick Marlow, 
captured May, '64 ; Willard Woods, taken by guerrillas. 

The battles and engagements in which the Second regi- 
ment participated, as officially recorded, were as follows : 


Bull Run, July 21, 1861 

Lee's Mill, April 16, 1862 

Williamsburg, May 5, 1862 

Golding's Farm, June 26, 1862 

Savage's Station, June 29, 1862 

White Oak Swamp, June 30, 1862 

Crampton's Gap, Sept. 14, 1862 

Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862 

Fredericksburg, . - Dec. 13, 1862 

Marye's Heights, May 3, 1863 

Salem Heights, May 4, 1863 

Fredericksburg, June 5, 1863 

Gettysburg, July 3, 1863 

Funkstown, July 10, 1863 

Rappahannock Station, ....... Nov. 7, 1863 

Wilderness, May 5th to 10th, 1864 

Spottsylvania, May 10th to 18th, 1864 

Cold Harbor, June 1st to 12th, 1864 

Petersburg, June 18, 1864 

Charlestown, Aug. 21, 1864 

Opequan, . Sept. 13, 1864 

Winchester, ........ Sept. 19, 1864 

Fisher's Hill, Sept. 21st, 1864 

Mount Jackson, Sept. 24, 1864 

Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864 

Petersburg, . March 25, 1865 

Petersburg, April 2, 1865 

Sailor's Creek April 6, 1865 



The final statement of the Second Vermont is as follows : 

Original members officers, 38 ; enlisted men, 828; total 866 

Gain recruits, 984; transferred from other regiments, 8 ; total 992 

Aggregate 1,858 


Killed in action officers, 4; enlisted men, 134; total 138 

Died of wounds officers, 2; enlisted men, 80; total 82 

Died of disease enlisted men 139 

Died in Confederate prisons, not of wounds 22 

Died from accidents, (enlisted men), 3; executed, 1; total 4 

Total of deaths 385 

Promoted to other regiments officers, 6 ; enlisted men, 2; total 8 

Honorably discharged officers, 35 ; enlisted men, 399 ; total 434 

Dishonorably discharged officers, 5; enlisted men, 19; total 24 

Deserted enlisted men 178 

Dropped from roll, 2 ; finally unaccounted for, 5; total 7 

Transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps and other organizations 120 

Total loss 1,156 

Mustered out, at various times officers, 55; men, 647; total 702 

Aggregate 1,858 

Total wounded 613 



Organization of the Regiment Rendezvous at St. Johnsbury Departure 
from the State Arrival at Washington Sketch of Colonel Wm. F. 
Smith Colonel Smith made Brig. General Changes among the Offi- 
cers Fatigue Duty in Virginia Pardon of William Scott Under Fire 
at Lewinsville Casualties Arrival of other Vermont Regiments 
Sickness in the Regiment The Peninsular Campaign Action at Lee's 
Mill List of Killed The Seven Days Retreat Willie Johnson 
First Fredericksburg Resignation of Colonel Hyde Numerous 
Changes in the Roster Marye's Heights, and Banks' s Ford Service at 
Newark, N. J. Winter at Brandy Station Losses in the Wilderness 
Campaign Skirmish at Fort Stevens End of Three Years' Term 
Shenandoah Campaign Petersburg Return Home. 

The organization of the Third regiment began at the 
same time with that of the Second, but was not as quickly 
completed. The twenty companies comprising the two regi- 
ments were selected, by Adj't and Insp. General Baxter, 
from the much larger number whose services were ten- 
dered to the State in the first week in May 1861. The 
companies assigned to the Third regiment were recruited 
in the towns of Springfield, Coventry, Newbury ("Wells River) 
Charleston, Johnson, Hartford, St. Johnsbury, St. Albans, 
Guildhall, and East Montpelier and Calais. The rendezvous 
was fixed at St. Johnsbury, the grounds of the Caledonia 
County Agricultural Society being selected for the camp, 
which was designated as " Camp Baxter," in honor of Adj't. 
and Insp. General Baxter. The St. Johnsbury and Hartford 
companies went into camp on the 7th of June 1861. The 


Charleston and Springfield companies arrived next day, and 
the remaining companies on various dates during the four 
weeks following, the last company arriving on the 3d of 

The battalion and the regiment after its completion, was 
under the command of Lieut. Colonel Breed N. Hyde, dur- 
ing its stay in Camp Baxter. 

The regiment was physically, as well as in other respects, 
an unusually fine body of troops, the average height of the men 
being five feet ten and a half inches, 2 and the average weight 
161 Ibs. They were quartered, at Camp Baxter, in the main 
building of the Caledonia County Agricultural Society. 
Several weeks elapsed before the regiment was uniformed, 
armed and officered. Meantime the measles ran through the 
ranks, prostrating one man in every three. Many men ob- 
tained leave of absence. Owing to these and other causes 
the discipline of the camp was somewhat lax, and the six 
weeks' sojourn of the regiment at St. Johnsbury, was diversi- 
fied by more than the usual amount of running of the guards, 
raiding of sutlers' shanties and other riotous proceedings. 
One of these had a serious termination. In resisting an at- 
tack on Pike's refreshment saloon, in the camp, on the even- 
ing of the 20th of July, one of the guard that had been 
stationed inside the shanty, in the discharge of his duty fired 
into the crowd of soldiers who were battering in the door, in- 
stantly killing one man, Sergeant John Terrill, of Co. I., and 
wounding another. 

The regiment was supplied with uniforms of gray 
cloth, which looked well at first but soon faded under the 
Virginia sun. Tents and camp equipage were distributed 

1 A Vergennes company, under Captain Solon Eaton, was one of the 
original companies assigned to the Third ; but was subsequently assigned 
to the Second regiment, just before the latter left the State. 

2 The tallest man in the regiment measured six feet five and a half in- 
ches in his stocking feet. 


during the first week in July. A supply of Enfield rifled 
muskets was secured in New York, a little later. 

The procuring of an officer of sufficient military training 
and experience to command the regiment was a matter of 
some difficulty. Governor Fairbanks at first hoped to place 
the regiment under the command of Colonel J. W. Phelps, 
of the First regiment, whose term of service would soon ex- 
pire ; but Colonel Phelps's services as commandant of the 
post at Newport News, were of too much value to the 
government to be spared, and his promotion to a brigadier 
generalship soon removed him from the immediate service of 
the State. Governor Fairbanks then endeavored to obtain 
from the War Department the detail of Captain Truman Sey- 
mour, 4th U. S. Artillery, a native Yermonter who had distin- 
guished himself in the Mexican War and was one of the de- 
fenders of Fort Sumter, to command the regiment ; but the 
application was declined. A like application for permission 
for Captain A. V. Colburn, U. S. A., afterward Asst. Adj't 
General of the Army of the Potomac on General McClellan's 
staff, to accept the colonelcy, met a similar response to the 
effect that his services could not be spared. 

Weeks passed during the pendency of these and similar 
applications, and it was not till after the regiment had 
left the State, that a colonel was secured for it. Meantime 
the following field and staff officers had been appointed: 
Lieut. Colonel, Breed N. Hyde, Hydepark; Major, Walter 
W. Cochran, Bellows Falls; Adjutant, Asa P. Blunt, St. 
Johnsbury ; Quartermaster, Kedfield Proctor, Cavendish ; 
Surgeon, Henry Janes, Waterbury ; Asst. Surgeon, David M. 
Goodwin, Cabot; Chaplain, Moses P. Parmelee, Underhill. 

Lieut. Colonel Hyde was of military parentage, his 
grandfather having fought at Bunker Hill, while his father 
served in the war of 1812 and was for twenty-five years an 
officer in the regular army. He had received a military 
education at West Point. Major Cochran had been active in 


the reorganization of the militia and was colonel of the Sec- 
ond regiment of militia when the war broke out. The others, 
though without special military training, were well quali- 
fied by character and education for their respective positions. 
Mr. Parmelee was a Congregational minister, who had just 
left the theological seminary and was ordained about the 
time of his appointment as chaplain. 

On the 16th of July, the regiment, numbering 882 
officers and men, was mustered into the U. S. service by 
Lieut. Colonel Eains, U. S. A., and on the 18th, orders were 
received from Washington directing the regiment to report 
as soon as ready, to General Banks at Baltimore, Md. Its 
departure was hastened by the news of the Union defeat at 
Bull Run, in the first pitched battle of the war ; and on the 
morning of July 24th it started for the South in a train of 
twenty-two cars. It was fully provided with tents, baggage 
wagons and camp furniture, and was accompanied by an ex- 
cellent regimental band of 24 pieces. An immense throng of 
spectators witnessed and cheered its departure, and wherever 
the train stopped on the way down the Connecticut Yalley, it 
was greeted with cheers and salutes. At Bellows Falls and 
Brattleboro the citizens supplied refreshments ; at Holyoke, 
Mass., a thousand factory girls from the mills formed in line 
beside the track, and waved the regiment on as the train 
whirled by. At Springfield, Mass., it was received with a 
salute of artillery ; Mayor Bemis and the city authorities pro- 
vided a substantial collation, which was served to the troops 
by the firemen of the city, and a crowd of five or six thou- 
sand people cheered the regiment off. At Hartford, the 
association of Sons of Vermont of that city and a large con- 
course of citizens received the regiment. A beautiful flag of 
white silk, bearing the arms of Yermont and of the citj of 
Hartford, was presented by the Sons of Vermont, and re- 
ceived with an appropriate response by Lieut. Colonel Hyde. 
At New Haven, at midnight, the regiment took the steamer 



Elm City, arrived at Jersey City at six o'clock the next 
morning, and at three o'clock p. M. took train for Washing- 
ton. At Philadelphia it had a genuine Philadelphia welcome 
and supper, provided by the Union Defence Committee. It 
did not stop at Baltimore as originally directed; but was 
ordered directly to Washington, where it arrived on the 
morning of July 26th. It was quartered in a public hall for 
the day and following night, and on Saturday the 27th, 
marched to Georgetown Heights, and went into camp at 
Camp Lyon named after the gallant General Nathaniel 
Lyon, of Missouri at the head of the "Chain Bridge," 1 
across the Potomac, six miles above the capitol. Here it 
was joined about the time of its arrival by its colonel, just 
appointed. For this position Captain William F. Smith, U. 
S. A., afterwards a major general and a distinguished corps 
commander, had been selected. Captain Smith was a native 
Yermonter, a cousin of Hon. John Gregory Smith of St. 
Albans, subsequently the last war governor of Vermont. He 
graduated with credit from the U. S. Military Academy in 1845> 
and was appointed a lieutenant of Topographical Engineers. 
He had served in surveys of the northern States, of the Mex- 
ican boundary, and in Texas ; had been assistant professor of 
mathematics in the U. S. Military Academy ; had in 1859, 
superintended the construction of a light-house and harbor 
improvements at Chicago, where he formed an acquaintance 
with Captain George B. McClellan, then vice-president of 
the Illinois Central Eailroad, which afterwards stood him in 
good stead. When the war broke out he was the Engineer 
secretary of the Light House Board at Washington. He had 
been serving during June and July 1861, under General 
Butler, as engineer with the forces at Fortress Monroe. 

Soon after the attack on Fort Sumter Captain Smith 
had signified to Governor Fairbanks his willingness to take 

1 The bridge was a substantial arched structure which two years pre- 
viously had replaced the old chain bridge. 


command of a regiment from his native State ; but it was 
not an easy matter to secure the necessary consent of the 
War Department. This, however, after repeated requests 
and refusals, was at last obtained by the aid of General Scott, 
who had before this shown a distinct interest in the Vermont 
troops, and who specially requested the detail of Captain 
Smith to command the Third Yermont. 1 The appointment 
of Captain Smith as colonel was received with general satis- 
faction by the regiment and the people of Yermont. His 
commission reached him the last week in July, 2 and he 
immediately joined his regiment, at Chain Bridge, and was 
assigned to the command of the forces stationed at that 
point. These consisted of the Third Yermont ; the Sixth 
Maine ; an artillery company which manned two field pieces 
at the end of the bridge and two 68 pounders on the bluffs 
above ; and a cavalry company. To these were soon added 
the Second Yermont, the Thirty-Third New York, and other 
troops. The camp was high and pleasant. The position 
was an important one, as it guarded not only the bridge, but 
the reservoir which supplied Washington with water. The 
regiment was occupied in drill and picket duty. There was 
a Confederate out-post at Falls Church, Ya., seven miles 
west, and a larger rebel force at Yienna, three miles beyond 
Tails Church, and frequent rumors of coming attacks kept all 
alert. The night of August 7th was spent in the rifle pits, 
in consequence of a false report of an advance of the enemy. 
In the first three weeks of its service in the field, impor- 
tant changes took place among the field officers of the. regi- 
ment. Major Cochran, who had been incapacitated for service 
by a severe attack of fever and ague, resigned his commission 
on the 6th of August, and Captain Wheelock G. Yeazey, of 

1 Letter of Hon. E. P. Walton, to Walton's Journal 

2 Col. Smith's commission was dated back by the State authorities to 
April 27th, 1861, the day after the date of Col. Phelps's commission, en- 
abling him thus to rank Col. Whiting of the Second. 


Co. A., was promoted to be major in his place. A week later, 
August 13th, Colonel Smith was appointed brigadier general 
of volunteers. Lieut. Colonel Hyde was thereupon promoted 
to the colonelcy, Major Veazey was appointed lieut. colonel, 
and Captain Thomas O. Seaver, of Co. F., was made major. 
On the 22d the regiment was reviewed, with the other troops 
on Georgetown Heights, by President Lincoln, accompanied 
by General McClellan and Secretaries Seward and Chase, 
and was complimented for its efficient appearance. 

In the night of the 3d of September, the regiment moved 
with General Smith's brigade, across Chain Bridge into Vir- 
ginia, and bivouacked by the side of the turnpike a mile beyond 
the bridge. For several weeks after, it was occupied chiefly 
in fatigue duty, felling trees and throwing up fortifications 
for the defence of Washington, principally on the fort at first 
named Fort Smith, in honor of General William F. Smith, 
but afterwards known as Fort Marcy. While here, an in- 
cident occurred which created no small sensation in the army, 
was widely published in the newspapers and became a fruit- 
ful theme for poetry and romance. William Scott, a private 
in Co. K, of the Third Vermont, was found asleep on 
his post, while on picket duty ; was tried by court martial for 
the crime, found guilty, and sentenced to be shot the first 
sentence of the kind on record in the army. Scott was only 
twenty-two years of age, of good character, and had been on 
picket duty two nights in succession, having voluntarily 
taken the place of a sick comrade the night before. His 
case aroused great sympathy. A petition for his pardon was 
signed by hundreds, from privates of the various regiments of 
the brigade up to General Smith, and was taken to Washington 
by Chaplain Parmelee. The sentence was promulgated on the 
5th of September, and was to be executed on the morning of the 
8th. In the evening of the 7th, the matter came to the knowl- 
edge of President Lincoln, and he at once granted a respite 
of the sentence. His order for a stay of the execution was 


telegraphed to Camp Advance ; but hearing nothing from it, 
and fearing it might have miscarried, Mr. Lincoln ordered 
his carriage, and a little before midnight, after a drive of near- 
ly ten miles, made his appearance at the brigade headquar- 
ters, to reiterate his order in person, and make sure of the 
life of the young Vermonter. Next morning the arrange- 
ments for the execution went on. The brigade was drawn up 
in hollow square, a shooting party detailed, and Scott was 
brought out, as if for death. He was deadly pale, and an oc- 
casional shudder shook his exhausted frame, but he asked 
for no mercy. The following order was then read : 

Washington, September 8. ) 

Private William Scott, of Company K. of the Third regiment of Vermont 
volunteers, having been found guilty by court martial of sleeping on his 
post while a sentinel on picket guard, has been sentenced to be shot, and 
the sentence has been approved and ordered to be executed. The com- 
manding officers of the brigade, the regiment and the company, of the 
command, together with many other privates and officers of his regiment, 
have earnestly appealed to the Major-General commanding, to spare the 
life of the offender, and the President of the United States has expressed a 
wish that as this is the first condemnation to death in this army for this 
crime, mercy may be extended to the criminal. This fact, viewed in con- 
nection with the inexperience of the condemned as a soldier, his previous 
good conduct and general good character, and the urgent entreaties made 
in his behalf, have determined the Major-General commanding to grant the 
pardon so earnestly prayed for. This act of clemency must not be under- 
stood as affording a precedent for any future case. The duty of a sentinel 
is of such a nature, that its neglect by sleeping upon or deserting his post 
may endanger the safety of a command, or even of the whole army, and all 
nations affix to the offence the penalty of death. Private William Scott of 
Co. K. of the Third regiment of Vermont volunteers, will be released from 
confinement and returned to duty. 

By command of Maj. -General McClellan, 

S. WILLIAMS, Asst. Ad jt. -General. 

The camp rang with cheers for President Lincoln after 
the dismissal of the parade, and Scott returned to his com- 
pany, to do good service as a soldier, and to give his life 


seven months later, while gallantly charging the rebel rifle 
pits at Lee's Mill. 

On the llth of September, the Third had its first ex- 
perience under fire, and suffered its first loss of men killed 
and wounded by hostile bullets. The regiment formed part 
of a column of 2,000 men, comprising four infantry regi- 
ments, two companies of the Second Vermont, four guns of 
Griffin's Battery and two companies of cavalry, which under 
command of Colonel Isaac Stevens of the 79th New York, 
made a reconnoissance to and beyond Lewinsville, Va. Three 
companies of the Third were thrown out as skirmishers on 
the roads to Yienna and Falls Church, beyond Lewinsville, 
and drove in the enemy's skirmishers, at a point a mile and a 
half beyond Lewinsville, having one man wounded, Sergeant 
Farnham of Co. C., shot in the ankle. While on its return, 
after having occupied the village and its approaches for two 
or three hours, the column was attacked by a section of 
Rosser's battery, which had been sent out with an infantry 
support from Munson's Hill, under command of Colonel 
J. E. B. Stuart, the subsequently famous and dashing confe- 
derate cavalry General. One of the first shells fired exploded 
in the ranks of Company C. of the Third, killing one man, 
Amos Meserve, outright, mortally wounding another, William 
H. Colbnrn, and injuring four or five others more or less se- 
riously. Griffin's guns replied, and an artillery duel of an 
hour's duration followed, at the end of which the enemy was 
no longer to be seen, and the Union column, now commanded 
by General Smith, who had ridden out from Camp Advance 
on hearing the firing, continued its march, in good order, back 
to camp. The Third Yermont and the two companies of the 
Second present, were detached from the main force, during 
the action, as a support to Griffin's Battery ; and conducted 
themselves in a way to merit high praise, 1 though muck 

1 Captain Griffin says, in his report of this action: " It affords me much 
gratification to testify to the coolness and handsome deportment of the 


disgusted that they could not do some shooting, as well as 
standing to be shot at. 

The casualties of the regiment in the entire affair were- 
one killed, one mortally wounded, one seriously and seven 
slightly wounded. The loss fell chiefly on Company C. The 
killed and wounded were all brought from the field. The 
mortally wounded man, "William H. Colburn, was placed by 
Surgeon Janes in a house on the road, and as nothing could 
be done for him he was left there in charge of a comrade. Next 
morning Lieutenant E. M. Noyes of Company C. with twenty 
men went back within the confederate picket line to the 
house where Colburn was left, found that he had died during 
the night, and brought his body, together with the body of a 
man of the Nineteenth Indiana, killed upon the field, back to 
Camp Advance. Colburn was a son of Prof. Zerah Colburn, 
who was noted as a mathematical prodigy in his early life, 
and was subsequently Professor of Mathematics in Norwich 
University. He was a brave man and good soldier. 

In the absence of more important matters, this affair 
made no little sensation on both sides. On the confederate 
side it won for Stuart his promotion to a brigadiership, 
and formed the subject of reports by Generals Longstreet 
and Joseph E. Johnston, and of a congratulatory order by the 
latter, as General of the Confederate Army, in which it was 
described as the routing of a large Union force by a small 
Confederate battalion, without loss to the latter. 

On the 18th, a battalion of three companies of the Third, 
under Colonel Hyde, acted as a guard of honor to the 
colors of the 79th New York, known as " The Highlanders," 

Vermont Third and some 80 men of the Second Vermont, who were or- 
dered to support the battery. They were for about an hour under a very 
warm fire from the enemy's artillery." 

Lieutenant W. Borrowe, of Colonel Stevens's staff, says: "I must in 
conclusion speak of the splendid behavior of the Third Vermont, who stood 
the fire with the greatest coolness * * obeying all orders 

with a promptness that was extraordinary." 


when they were restored to that regiment, from which they 
had been taken several weeks previous by General McClellan 
as a punishment for insubordination and disorderly conduct. 
On the 25th of September, the regiment formed part of a 
force of 5,000 men of all arms, with which General Smith 
made a second reconnoissance to Lewinsville. There w r as a 
slight artillery skirmish but no casualties. About this time 
Quartermaster Proctor, who had been a capable and excellent 
quartermaster, resigned, having been appointed Major of the 
Fifth Vermont. In his place Lieutenant Frederick Grain, of 
Company A., was appointed quartermaster, September 25th. 
During the next two weeks the prevailing quiet was 
broken only by the arrivals of new regiments attached to 
General Smith's command, which was now taking on the pro- 
portions of a division. Among these were the Fourth and 
Fifth Yermont regiments. The fall rains, frequent fogs and 
cold nights began about this time to tell severely on the 
health of the men. On the 8th of October, over 200 men 
were on the sick list, not a quarter of whom could be accom- 
modated in the camp hospital the rest being sent to 
Georgetown, Annapolis and Baltimore. Typhus fever pre- 
vailed to some extent, and occasioned several deaths. 
October 9th, the regiment moved out with the other Ver- 
mont regiments to Camp Griffin, about four miles from Chain 
Bridge. The location was a more wholesome one, and the 
health of the regiment improved somewhat ; but there was a 
good deal of suffering from want of suitable and sufficient 
clothing. The tents were thin and leaky, the gray uniforms 
in which the men left the State had become faded, worn and 
thin, and there was a lack of drawers and blankets, which 
was seriously felt in the cold and damp nights. The needs 
of the regiment were so pressing, in these respects, as to 
form the subject of petitions from the commissioned officers 
to the Legislature, and of communications from General 
Smith to the governor, calling the attention of the State 



authorities to the subject. Tt was not easy, however, to pro- 
vide supplies upon the instant ; and though the suffering of 
the men was in part alleviated by private supplies of com- 
forters, underclothing and warm stockings sent by their 
friends at home, it was nearly the middle of November 
before the regiment was comfortably clothed. By that time 
the men were in new uniforms of army blue, and provided 
with drawers and blankets by the government, and a week or 
two later were supplied with new tents of the "James 
patent," large, tight and of heavy duck. The general health 
of the men improved under these provisions for their health 
and comfort, till in a weekly report in January, but 84 were 
reported on the sick list, being but about a third of the 
average proportion of sick in the Yermont brigade. 

The winter passed uneventfully at Camp Griffin, the 
men being employed in regular drill, camp guard and picket 
duty. On the 10th of March, 1862, orders came to break camp, 
and the regiment moved with the brigade and with the army. 
It remained in camp near Alexandria till the 23d, when it 
marched to Alexandria and took transports down the Poto- 
mac, arriving at Fortress Monroe on the 24th. The next day 
the regiment landed and went into camp -with the brigade 
near Hampton, Ya. On the 4th of April, it moved up the 
Peninsula in the general advance of the army, till it was 
brought to a standstill in front of the Confederate lines 
below Yorktown. On the 16th of April, at Lee's Mill, Ya., 
the first assault upon the enemy's works made by General 
McClellan's army in the Peninsula campaign of 1862 was 
made by the Third regiment; and in that sanguinary and 
desperate action, elsewhere more fully described, the regi- 
ment had the most prominent part. A reconnoissance made 
by Lieutenant Noyes of the Third, of General Brooks's staff 
won him high commendation; and the dash through and 
across Warwick Creek by the four companies of the Third 
which assaulted and carried the enemy's riflepits, has been 


recognized in many histories as one of the most daring ex- 
ploits of the campaign. A curious commentary on the uncer- 
tainty of history and the value of military glory is afforded 
by the fact that the man who was mentioned in the reports of 
Colonel Hyde and General Brooks as commanding the bat- 
talion, and who appears in General Webb's History of the 
Peninsula Campaign, and in other histories, as the leader of 
the charge across Warwick River, really exercised no command 
of the battalion, and probably did not even accompany it 
across the river ; while the actual commander and leader of 
the charge, which left him mutilated for life and well nigh 
cost him his life, was wholly overlooked in the official reports 
and barely alluded to in the newspaper accounts of the fight, 
and now first receives the credit that is his due. 

The four companies were commanded, Company D. by 
Captain F. C. Harrington ; Company E. by First Lieutenant 
Robert D. Whittemore j 1 Company F. by Captain Samuel E. 
Pingree ; Company K. by Captain Leonard E. Bennett. 
Harrington was the ranking captain and made a report of 
the action, as the commanding officer of the detachment. 
There is, however, much ground for doubt whether he crossed 
Warwick Eiver that day. His own statement is that he crossed 
the creek with his command ; that he personally rescued the 
colors of the regiment, which had been abandoned in the 
stream by the color guard ; and that he staid with his 
men till he received the order to retire, which he gave to the 
command. On the other hand there is positive evidence, 
that soon after receiving the order to cross Captain Harring- 
ton turned the command of the battalion over to Captain S. 
E. Pingree, next in rank, sa}dng that his (Harrington's) phy- 
sical condition was such that it was not prudent for him to 
go into the water. Various eye witnesses in the ranks of his 

1 Whittemore had been commissioned as captain, in place of Captain 
B] an chard, who had resigned six months previous ; but his appointment 
had not reached him. 


own and other companies declare that they did not see him 
across the creek, and do not believe he crossed the stream. 
The incident of the rescue of the colors rests only on his own 
testimony. Ordinarily the colors would not be sent out with 
a detachment of four companies ; and truthful and responsi- 
ble officers, who could not have failed to see the colors if 
they were there, say that they do not believe that the colors 
were taken under fire that day. 1 The actual commander, so 
far as the detachment had any after it left the left bank, was 
Captain Samuel E. Pingree, who led the assault with the ut- 
most gallantry, and held his men to their work till he was dis- 
abled by two serious wounds, one of which took off the thumb 
of his right hand, and till the order to fall back came, when 
he repeated the order and was helped, fainting from loss of 
blood, to the rear. He was taken to the camp hospital and 
thence via Fortress Monroe to Philadelphia, where he was 
placed in a hospital by Quartermaster General Davis, who 
was looking after the wounded Yermonters. Typhoid pneu- 
monia supervened before his wounds were healed, and 
brought him to death's door. No man was ever nearer death 
and survived. His surgeons and friends gave him up. His 
death was reported in the Vermont papers, and his obituary 
written ; but he rallied on the very edge of the grave, and 
lived to fight through the war ; and to become the Governor 
of the State ; and to serve the public in civil life with the 
modesty, efficiency and fidelity which characterized his mili- 
tary service. 

The loss of the regiment was 26 killed and 63 wounded, 
nine of whom died of their wounds. Of 52 officers and men 

1 Captain Harrington was dismissed the service a few weeks later (on 
the 23d of July, 1862) under charges of disobedience of orders and ab- 
sence without leave, during the six days of fighting on the Peninsula, in 
the change of base. After the end of the war, the order of dismissal was 
in 1870, revoked, and the record changed to one of honorable discharge, 
upon Captain Harrington's petition, backed by a number of field and line 
officers of the brigade. 


of Co. F. who went into the fight, 27, or 52 per cent., were 
killed or wounded. Of these nine were killed outright and 
three mortally wounded. Co. D. had eight men killed and 
one mortally wounded. Five men of Co. K. were killed and 
three died of their wounds. Co. E. had four killed. The 
battalion numbered 192 officers and men, and its loss in killed 
and wounded was 45 per cent. In the previous skirmishing 
one man of Co. A. was killed, and five of Companies A., B. 
and H., were wounded. 1 

The regiment was with the First Vermont brigade du- 
ring the stay of the army before Yorktown ; in the march up 
the Peninsula ; in the battle of Williamsburg where it was 
sent to the right to reinforce General Hancock and joined 
Hancock's command in its advanced position ; in the month of 
picket and fatigue duty in front of Kichmond ; and on the 
Seven Days' Hetreat. In these trying days, the regiment 
was commanded by Lieut. Colonel Yeazey, Colonel Hyde 
being absent on sick leave. The regiment was engaged at 
Savage's Station, June 29th, and, lost six killed and 18 woun- 
ded. Among the killed was Second Lieutenant John "W. 
Ramsay, Co. C., and among the wounded were Captain D. 
T. Corbin, Co. C., who was left on the field and captured, and 
Captain Nelson, Co. I., who lost three toes by a musket shot. 

When General Smith's division was paraded at Harri- 
son's Landing, after the " change of base," it was found that 

'The killed were; E. Briggs, D. Campbell, Jr., J. Cookman, 8. Dan- 
forth, J. Lebay, J. Neal, O. C. Stevens, S. Sweetland, Co. D. ; F. J. Thomas, 
8. Thompson, W. P. Vance, E. W. Wells, Co. E. ; A. Boynton, W. H. 
Downer, W. S. Kurd, G. Kibble, F. Morrill, D. M. Morse, J. F. Perry, D* 
Wilson, R. Wilson, Co. F. ; A. J, Batten, F. Cenneville, P. Devine, E. D. 
Waterman, A. F. Willey, Co. K. 26. Those who died of their wounds 
were; A. A. Bailey, Co. A. ; H. C. Hill, A. Hutchinson, Co. D.; J. Butter- 
field, J. M. Smith, W. Whitcomb, Co. F. ; T. Connell, A. J. Hoyt, W. 
Scott, Co. K. 9. 

2 The killed were : A. C. Armington and E. P. Howard of Co. C.; G. 
W. Fletcher of Co. F.; H. W. Jones of Co. I.; and A. B. Russell of Co. K. 


but one drummer of the entire division had brought his drum 
with him through the Seven Days' Eetreat. This was a St. 
Johnsbury lad of 14 years, named "Willie Johnson, who was 
the drummer boy of Co. D. of the Third Vermont. While 
many strong men threw away their arms and everything but 
the clothing on their persons, Willie clung to his drum and 
carried it through with him, and at Harrison's Landing he 
had the honor of drumming for division parade. These facts 
were reported by General Smith to the War Department, 
and several months later Willie was summoned to Wash- 
ington and received from Secretary Stanton the star medal 
of honor, for his fidelity and pluck. 1 

The regiment was with the Vermont Brigade during the 
Summer and Fall of 1862, and took part, without serious 
loss, in the forcing of Crampton's Gap, September 14th ; at 
Antietam, where it lost one man killed 1 and three wounded, 
September 17th, and at the first Fredericksburg, December 
13th, where it had two killed and eight wounded. 3 

On the 27th of September j Lieut. Colonel Veazey was 
appointed to the Colonelcy of the Sixteenth regiment. Major 
Seaver was promoted to the lieutenant colonelcy in his place ; 
and Captain Samuel E. Pingree succeeded him as Major. 
Lieut. Colonel Veazey was a thoroughly brave and uncom- 
monly capable officer, and his departure was a serious loss to 
the regiment. 

The opening of the year 1863, found the regiment in 
camp at Belle Plain Landing, and its morning report' of 
January 7th, showed an aggregate of 791 men, of whom 573 
were present for duty and 204 on the sick list. 

On the 15th of January, Colonel Hyde resigned the 

1 Young Johnson re-enlisted at the end of three years, and served 
through the war. 

2 J. Stanton, Co. D. 

3 The killed were B. Farwell and J. Whipple, Co. G. 8. C. Boynton, 
Co. E., died of his wounds. 


colonelcy, under circumstances not altogether creditable. 
He had been ordered before a court martial, on a charge of 
cowardice exhibited at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. 
He alleged in his defence, physical weakness from tempo- 
rary illness ; but the circumstances altogether were such, and 
the unfavorable result of the court martial so probable, that 
he was advised to resign, and did so, and his resignation was 
accepted. Truth compels the historian to say that he had 
not been a popular or successful commander ; and the re- 
giment welcomed the change which gave Lieut. Colonel 
Seaver the colonelcy and command. 1 Major S. E. Pingree 
was promoted to the lieutenant colonelcy, and Captain 
Thomas Nelson of Co. I, was appointed major. 

The changes in the roster of the regiment which had thus 
far occurred were frequent and great. In the eighteen 
months of its service the regiment had seen its field officers 
thrice changed. Adjutant Blunt had been promoted to the 
lieutenant colonelcy of the Sixth, and had been succeeded by 
Lieutenant W. F. Corey of Co. H, who resigned in July, 
1862, and was succeeded as adjutant by Serg't Major Edward 
Mattocks. Quartermaster Proctor had been promoted and 
succeeded by Lieutenant Frederick Grain. Chaplain Par- 
melee had resigned and was suceeded in January, 1862, 
by Rev. Daniel A. Mack, a Methodist Episcopal Clergyman 
of Boyalton, leaving Surgeon Janes and Ass't Surgeon Good- 
win the only members of the original field and staff remain- 
ing. In the line Captains Yeazey, Seaver, Pingree and Nelson 
liad been promoted ; Captains Corbin, Allen and Hammond 
had been honorably discharged for wounds and disabilities 

1 Lieut. Colonel Seaver had been, during the month previous, in com- 
mand of the Twenty Sixth New Jersey, a new regiment which had been 
brigaded for three months with the First Vermont brigade. Its colonel 
being ill, and its only remaining field officer having seen no previous ser- 
service, Lieut. Colonel Seaver was assigned to the command of the regi- 
ment ; and under his capable command it rapidly improved in drill and 
discipline. New Jersey and The Rebellion, p. 543. 


incurred in the service ; Captains West, Blanchard and 
House had resigned, and Captain Harrington had been 
cashiered, leaving not one of the original company com- 
manders ; and as many or more changes had taken place in 

the various lieutenantcies. No other Vermont regiment 

the First Vermont cavalry excepted was subjected to such 
sweeping changes of officers during the first year and a half of 
its service. 

Colonel Seaver, its new commander, was a young man 
of high intelligence and spirit. He had enlisted from the 
town of Pomfret, at the age of 27, in response to the first 
call for three year s troops, and was chosen captain of his 
company at its organization in May, 1861. He had reached 
the colonelcy through all the successive grades of promotion, 
and had shown himself cool and brave in action, and faithful 
to every duty. He had the confidence and respect of the 
regiment, and under his command it won some of its brightest 

At the famous storming of Marye's Heights, at Fred- 
cricksburg, May 3d, 1863, the regiment formed part of the 
third storming column which, under command of Colonel 
Seaver, gallantly carried a portion of the crest, with the loss 
of one killed l and six wounded. Next day, Colonel Seaver 
was detailed as division officer of the day for General Howe's 
division, leaving the command of the Third to Lieut. Colonel 
Pingree. In the engagement of that day, designated in Adj't 
General Washburn's list of battles as Salem Heights but 
perhaps better known as that of Banks's Ford, the regiment 
rendered gallant and very important service in the repulse of 
the Confederate brigades of Hoke and Hays, and in the 
covering of the withdrawal of Howe's division and of the 
Sixth corps across the Eappahannock. Its loss was two 
killed and mortally wounded, 2 24 wounded and 13 missing. 

1 S. M. Whitman, Co. E. 

2 J. C. Crossam, Co. C, and O. Farnsworth, Co. G. 


Among the wounded were Lieutenant E. P. Goodell, of Co. 
G. and Lieutenant E. A. Kennedy, of Co D. Colonel Seaver 
was specially mentioned in the reports of the brigade and 
division commanders, and in his report he commends Lieut. 
Colonel Pingree and Major Nelson for gallant and. efficient 
service that day. 1 

The Third crossed the Eappahannock with the brigade 
on the 5th of June ; shared the hard march to Gettysburg ; 
and in the engagement at Funkstown, Md. on the 10th of 
July, it lost one man killed and several wounded, 2 of whom 
one died of his wounds. During the last two weeks of August 
and first two of September, the regiment was maintaining 
order and supporting the laws, in and near New York city. 
This service was not entirely confined to moral suasion. 
Among other duties, the Third regiment was sent to Newark, 
N. J., September 5th, to mount guard over a New Jersey re- 
giment, which had been recruited from rather poor material 
by means of large bounties, and was now in danger of entire 
dissolution from the numbers who were deserting. A guard 
of U. S. regulars had been stationed there to maintain dis- 
cipline and stop the escape of deserters ; but with so little 
success, that General Dix relieved them and put the Third 
Vermont in their place. On the night of the 7th a number 
of the Jerseymen undertook to rush past the guard, who, 
after due warning, used their arms with fatal effect. Three 
of the "bounty jumpers" were killed and four wounded; 
and there was no more attempting to run guard while the 
Yermonters were on duty. The New Jersey roughs of course 
hated as well as feared the Yermonters, and their malice 
sometimes found ugly expression. On one occasion as a 
guard, Alvah T. Bell of Co, H, was leaning for a minute on 

1 Lieut. Horace French, acting provost marshal, is also favorably men- 
tioned in the report of Col. L. A. Grant, commanding the brigade. 

5 J. Cuthbert, Co. F, killed. A. G. Page, Co. F, died of his wounds. 


his gun, with his hand over the muzzle, a Jersey man crept 
up slyly and pulled the trigger, discharging the musket and 
shattering Bell's hand for life. 

During the withdrawal of the Army of the Potomac from 
the front of Mine Run, on the 1st and 2d of December, 1863, 
the Third with the Seventy Seventh New York and a battery 
guarded the Germania Ford and covered the rear, while the 
army marched back to its old camp, near Brandy Station. 
On the 3d the regiment followed the rest of the army, and 
went into winter quarters near Brandy Station, Va. Here it 
remained for five months. In December, 204 of the men re- 
enlisted for the war. Successive additions of recruits brought 
up the aggregate of the regiment on the 1st of February to 
800. The health of the regiment at this time was remarkable, 
the sick list averaging but 83, for four months. 

About 600 effective men of the Third marched into the 
Wilderness under General U. S. Grant on the 4th of May, 
1864, and a third of them fell in the battles of the 5th and 
6th. The regiment, under Colonel Seaver, fought in the 
front line on the left of the Orange Plank road, and its loss 
on those two bloody days was 40 killed, 184 wounded, 25 
of whom died of their wounds, and 15 missing. Among the 
killed were Adjutant Abel Morrill and Captain E. H. Bart- 
lett, Co. B., and among the wounded were Captain Erastus 
Buck, who died of his wounds, Captain H. W. Floyd, and 
Lieutenants H. C. Miller, C. E. Osgood and E. P. Goodall. 
Lieutenant Horace French, acting aid on the staff of Gene- 
ral L. A. Grant, had his horse shot under him and was taken 
prisoner, at the close of the battle of the 4th. Corporal 
Thomas J. Miller, Co. K., who served as mounted orderly, 
received honorable mention in General L. A. Grant's report. 1 

1 The killed of the rank and file were : J. H. Clark, C. A. Cook, E. B. 
Felcher, Co. A.; C. S. Blood, J. Dunn, L. G. Flood, Co. B.; C. H. Bur- 
bank, Co. C.; J. H. Allen, N. Drown, J. Petre Jr., G. Roberts, F. D. 
Spicer, Co. D.; E. B. Burnham, O. M. Tillotson, Co. E.; F. Boyd, D. 



At Spotfcsylvania, on the 10th of May, four companies of 
the Third, under Captain Kenesson, shared the glory of Upton's 
famous charge and a portion of them remained in the enemy's 
works until the last. On the 12th the regiment was in the 
thickest of the fight at the " Bloody Angle." The loss of the 
regiment on those two days was 19 killed and 75 wounded, 
of whom seven died, 1 the loss falling heaviest on compan- 
ies C. and G. Among the wounded on the 12th was Captain 
John F. Cook of Co. E., who received a severe wound in the 
breast which occasioned his honorable discharge eleven 
months later. On the 16th, Colonel Seaver with the Third 
Yermont and a Massachusetts regiment made a reconnois- 
sance towards Spottsylvania Court-house, driving in the ene- 
my's skirmishers to their main line of works. 

On the 21st, the Sixth corps being then a little south of 
Spottsylvania, the enemy broke through the skirmish line, 
which was covering the withdrawal of the corps, and Colonel 
Seaver was sent out with the Third Yermont to re-establish 
the line. This was promptly done and several prisoners 

Huse, J. L. Marsh, R. M. McGibbon, Co. F. ; D. Connell, M. W. Gray, 
H. B. Hooker, G. Newton, M. G. Paige, D. Rattray, Co. G.; R. Goodwin, 

D. Parker, G. W. Pryor, Co. H.; F. F. England, G. Hendrick, R. H. 
Langdon, L. Morse, J. Shattuck, E. B. Smith, J. A. Tabor, J. Weeks, 
Co. I.; P. Haggerty, J. McCarty, J. Welch, Co. K. 

The mortally wounded were: R. N. Bullard, Co. B. ; G. F. Sawtelle, 
Co. C.; W. Hammett, J. Wilson, Co. D.; S. L. Kemp, A. White, Co. E.; 
G. F. Bemis, R. B. Carlton, E. Doyle, T. S. Hodson, M. Morain, J. Sabine, 
Co. F.; H. C. Thompson, G. W. Wright, Co. G.; E. M. Allison, O. Hoga- 
boom, M. C. Page, H. Rumrill, J. E. Searle, Co. H. ; F. Baker, J. Hinman, 
W. Whipple, Co. I., J. A. Fales, G. D. Taft, Co. K. 

1 The killed were E. A. Boynton, W. H. Bugbee, Co. A ; J. N. Flanders, 
G. N. Gardner, W. Morris, H. B. Williams, Co. C.; W. H. Colley, B. A. 
Hoag, A. S. Judd, J. Morse, Co. D.; F. Gallagher, S. Q. Farnsworth, 
C. W. Hill, C. H. Northrop, E. H. Scott, J.T. Simpson, Co. G.; C. C. Cobb, 
J. Ryan, Co. I.; W. J. McMannis, Co. K. 

L. P. Leland, Co. A.; J. C. Doyle, S. G., Heaton, A. B. Jones. Co. D.; 

E. Ordway, L. A. Ryder, Co. F. and H. Crow, Co. G., died of wounds. 


In the bloody battle of Cold Harbor, on the 3d of June, 
the Third formed for a time a portion of the front line, and 
suffered severely, having 13 killed, 17 mortally wounded, 1 
and 53 more or less severely wounded. Among the mortally 
wounded was Lieutenant Henry C. Miller, of Co. A., a brave 
and capable young officer, who died next day. Captain 
Kenesson, of Co. D. was among the wounded. 

On the night of the 3d the brigade was temporarily 
divided, and Colonel Seaver was sent with the Third and 
Fifth and two battalions of the Eleventh, to relieve and 
support a portion of the Third division of the Sixth corps. 
They were placed in the front line, relieving General Eussell's 
brigade, and were detached from the rest of the brigade for a 
week of almost constant skirmishing. During the night of 
June 12th Colonel Seaver's command rejoined the brigade, 
and the Third started, with the brigade, on the march for 
Petersburg. The regiment had thus far since it crossed 
the Rapidan, had about 300 men killed and wounded, and 
20 captured, and was thus reduced to about half its effective 
force of five weeks previous. 

June 20th the regiment was under heavy artillery fire, 
in the lines in front of Petersburg, and lost one man killed. 8 
In the movement of the Sixth corps against the Weldon 
Eailroad, June 22d, the Third, with other Yermont troops, 
was on picket, guarding the left flank of the corps. 

The next day the picket line of the Second division of the 

'The killed were : E. J. Flanders, Co. A.; N. A. Brink, P. Dolan, Co. 
B.; J. F. Wheelock, Co.E.; W. W. Page, Co. G.; H. M. Hogaboom, J. 
Popple, Co. H. ; G. F. England, G. W. Harvey, J. B. Percival, W. Rob- 
bins, Co. I.; H. Plumb, O. Whitcomb, Co. K. 

Those dying of their wounds were: W. O. Messenger, Co. A.; E. S. 
Nye, Co. B., J. Flaherty, Co. C.; A. White, Co. E.; A. L. Bartholomew, 
O. Davis, Co. F.; A. S. Writer, Co. G.; J. H. Frisbie, J. Blanshaw, Co. H.; 
B. A. Hutchins, J. C. Stone, A. A. C. Symes, Co. L; J. Arnold, J. Hen- 
derson, W". Henderson, C. H. Leavitt, Co. K. 

8 William Belcer, Co. F. 


Sixth corps was composed chiefly of Vermont troops, and was 
under the charge of Lieut. Colonel S. E. Pingree, as Division 
Officer of the Day. Captain Beattie of the Third, with nine- 
ty men, reached the Weldon road, accompanied by a party 
of pioneers who commenced the destruction of the track. 
Later in the day, the enemy assaulted the skirmish line, and 
captured four hundred men of the Fourth and Eleventh 
Vermont regiments. Colonel Pingree was not held respon- 
sible for this disaster ; but on the contrary won high praise 
for his efficiency and bravery. 1 

On the 29th of June, on the advance of the Sixth corps 
to Beam's Station, the Third was deployed on the skirmish 
line, and drove in the enemy's skirmishers. On the 30th of 
June the regiment had 340 men present for duty. 

July 9th the regiment went with the brigade and the 
Sixth corps to Washington, to repel Early's demonstration 
against the Capital. In the skirmish in front of Fort Stevens, 
July 12th, some twenty men of the Third, who were in a 
company of about seventy-five picked men, organized as 
sharpshooters under command of Captain A. M. Beattie, par- 
ticipated in the sally of General Bidwell's brigade, and in the 
sharp skirmish which drove the enemy out of sight. One 
man of the Third 2 was killed and one wounded in the action. 

1 Gen. L. A. Grant, in his report of this action, says : " Although Lieut. 
Colonel 8. E. Pingree, 3d Vermont, was not under my command that day, 
but was acting as Officer of the day in charge of the whole picket or skir- 
mish line, I bear willing testimony to his coolness and bravery, and almost 
superhuman efforts. He had a difficult and extended line, and his atten- 
tion was called to different points almost at the same time. He performed 
his duties in a manner entitling him to great praise." 

The army correspondent of the N. Y. World, describing the first as- 
saults of the enemy on the skirmish line, said : " The enemy, though at- 
tacking in two strong lines, were effectually thwarted by ,our skirmish- 
ers for the skillful manoeuvering of which too much praise cannot be 
bestowed on Colonel Pingree, of the Third Vermont, who commanded 
them. Special mention will be made of Colonel Pingree and of Captain 
Beattie, for the efficiency and bravery displayed by them on this occasion." 

9 Russell L. Stevens, Co. D. 


On the 16th of July, the brigade being then near Lees- 
burg, Va., the three years' term of the original members of 
the regiment expired. They had become reduced, chiefly by 
death and discharge, from 881 to 335. Of these 179, having 
re-enlisted for the war, remained in the field. 1 Over 50 were 
in hospital suffering from wounds or severe sickness. The 
remainder, 104 in number, under command of Colonel Seaver, 
left on the 17th, passed through New York on the 20th, and 
arrived at Burlington in the evening of the 21st. They were 
received and escorted by a procession of firemen and citizens 
to the town hall, where they were welcomed home in an ad- 
dress by Hon. L. B. Englesby, which was fittingly responded 
to by Lieut. Colonel Pingree, Colonel Seaver not being 
present. A supper was tendered to the veterans by the citi- 
zens of Burlington at the American Hotel that evening, at 
which speeches were made by Adj't General P. T. Washburn, 
Colonel Seaver, Professor C. W. Thompson of the University, 
and others, after which the regiment marched to its quarters 
in barracks on the Fair ground. The men were paid off by the 
U. S. Paymaster and State Treasurer, and mustered out of 
the service by Captain Murray, U. S. A., on the 27th. The 
officers so mustered out were Colonel T. O. Seaver, who went 
out as captain of Co. F. ; Lieut. Colonel S. E. Pingree, who 
went out as first lieutenant of Co. F.; Major Thomas Nelson, 
who was the first captain of Co. I.; Surgeon D. M. Goodwin, 
who was the first assistant surgeon of the regiment ; Chaplain 
D. A. Mack ; Captains D. A. Kenesson, A. M. Beattie, W. A. 
Pierce, Leo Hyde, and Sidney H. Brigham ; First Lieutenants 
F. E. Hew, Wm. H. Bowker, E. A. Chandler, W. M. Currier, 
H. H. Phillips and James Fletcher; and Second Lieutenants 
C. E. Osgood, C. F. Bailey, E. P. Goodall Jr., D. B. Yeazey, 
and Alvin Jones. Most of these company officers went out as 

1 The number who re-enlisted originally was 204. Of these some 20 had 
been killed, and several had deserted, subsequent to re-enlistment. 


The departure of the officers and men whose three years' 
term had expired, took from the regiment all its field officers 
and over half of its company commanders ; but more veter- 
ans and recruits remained in the field than had been mustered 
out. On the 25th of July they were consolidated into a 
battalion of six companies the members of Companies D., 
F., G. and H. being distributed among the other companies 
under command of Captain Horace W. Floyd, who was 
soon after commissioned as major. The morning report of 
July 31, showed an aggregate of 483, with 218 present for 
duty, and 242 on the sick list, the larger part of whom were 
wounded men. 

In the notable engagement at Charlestown, Ya., August 
21, 1864, the Third had three men killed and 15 wounded. 1 

In the opening battle of General Sheridan's Shenandoah 
campaign, known as that of the Opequan, or Winchester, 
September 19th, 1864, the Third, under Major Floyd, who 
was also in command of the Fourth, was sharply engaged 
and lost 30 men, two being killed, 26 wounded, of whom three 
died of their wounds, and two missing. 2 It took part again, 
two days later, in the battle of Fisher's Hill. It lost one man, 
T. J. Miller of Company K., who was the brigade color bearer, 
killed on the 21st. 

At Cedar Creek, October 19th, about 200 men of the 
Third went into the battle, and the loss of the regiment was 
three killed, 38 wounded, three of whom died of wounds, 
and one missing. 3 Captain W. H. Hubbard and Lieutenant 

1 The killed were A. Goodell, J. J. Rich and D. E. Smith of Co. I. 
A. E. Fales, of Co. K., died of his wounds. 

2 The killed were W. E. Crowell, Co. E., and C. H. Sanborn, Co. F. 
J. Deady, andE. B. Cram, Co. E., and J. S. Kelley, Co. C., died of their 

3 The killed were: James Greig, Co. C., E. G. Thompson, Co. F., 
H. C. Voodry, Co. K. 

M. E. Parker, Co. A., J. E. Page, Co. C., and A. Pierce, Co. E., died of 
their wounds. 


A. H. Lyon, were among the wounded. Major Floyd was 
mentioned in General Grant's report for " truly conspicuous 
and gallant conduct." He had been appointed lieutenant 
colonel on the 18th, but did not receive his commission till 
after the battle of Cedar Creek. He was brevetted colonel 
for gallantry and good conduct in the battles of the Shenan- 
doah Valley. Upon Major Floyd's promotion to the lieuten- 
ant colonelcy, Captain John F. Cook was appointed major, 
October 18th, 1864. 

Returning to Petersburg with the Sixth corps after the 
close of the Shenandoah campaign, the regiment went into 
winter quarters with the Yermont brigade, on the " Squirrel 
Level Road," on the southwest of Petersburg. The men 
were occupied during the winter and early spring in severe 
picket service along the lines, and in hard fatigue duty on 
the forts which were constructed by the Sixth corps. On the 
25th of March 1865, the regiment, with the brigade, assaulted 
the enemy's entrenched picket line, taking many prisoners, 
and held the captured works, having three men wounded. 
On the morning of the 27th, it aided in the repulse of the 
enemy's assault on the captured line, and had one man 

The last fighting done by the Third was in the final 
assault of the Sixth corps on the Confederate lines on the 
south of Petersburg, April 2d, which resulted in the fall of that 
stronghold and of Richmond. In the storming of the enemy's 
works, and in the subsequent fighting of the brigade, the 
Third had an honorable share, and Lieut. Colonel Floyd and 
a portion of his command distinguished themselves in the 
capture of a Confederate battery, in the last stand made by 
the enemy in front of Petersburg. The loss of the regiment 
was four killed and 19 wounded, two of whom died. 1 Among 

'The killed were: H. J. Stephens, Co. A.; S. C. Ingleston, Co. E.; 
J. H. Hastings, Co. I., and W. Harvey, Jr., Co. K. 

N. Gould, Co. A., and G. Peach, Co. C., died of their wounds. 


the latter was Lieutenant Gardner t). Hawkins, who was act- 
ing as adjutant of the Fourth Vermont. 

The regiment accompanied the brigade and the Sixth 
corps in the final hard marching of the campaign, and of the 
war, and went into its last camp in the field, at Munson's 
Hill, June 1st, with about 300 men. The morning report of 
June 7th showed an aggregate of 466, of whom 320 were on 
duty, 128 sick and 18 reported absent with or without leave. 

On the 4th of June, in recognition of their meritorious 
services, Lieut. Colonel Floyd was promoted to the colonelcy, 
Major "William H. Hubbard, 1 to thelieut. colonelcy, and Cap- 
tain A. H. Newt of Company B. was appointed major. These 
promotions, however, were not recognized by the War Depart- 
ment ; and under its rules these officers were subsequently 
mustered out as of the ranks previously held by them. 

On the 7th and 8th of June, the regiment participated 
in the review of the Vermont troops by Governor Smith, at 
Bailey's Cross Roads, near Alexandria, and in the review 
of the Sixth corps by President Johnson, at Washington. 

On the 19th, the men, numbering about 100, whose 
terms of service were to expire before the 1st of October, 
were mustered out ; and on the llth of July, the remainder, 
numbering 22 officers and about 300 men, were mustered out, 
at Bailey's Cross Roads, and started at once for home. The 
officers so nmstered out were Colonel Floyd, Lieut. Colonel 
"W. H. Hubbard, Major A. H. Newt, Adjutant A. H. Hall, 
Quartermaster G. F. Brown, Surgeon J. J. Meigs, Chaplain 
P. A. Mack, Captains George W. Bonett, B. H. Fuller, L. 
B. Fairbanks, J. S. Thompson, T. F. Leonard and Horace 
French; First Lieutenants J. S. Tupper, 6. B. Robinson, A. C. 
Wakefield, A. W. Lyon, and O. H. Thompson ; and Second 

Lieutenants W. W. Woods, E. E. Cushman, C. B. Guyer and 

,-% *> 

1 He had been appointed Major on the discharge of Major Cook, who 
received an honorable discharge, April 8th, for disability resulting from his 


A. J. Locke. They reached New York on the 13th, and ar- 
rived at Burlington in the afternoon of the 14th. They were 
received with a salute of cannon, were escorted to the city 
hall by a mounted escort of citizens ; were welcomed in an 
address by Rev. George B. Safford, and entertained at a din- 
ner in the city hall, served by the ladies of Burlington, after 
which the veterans marched to their quarters at the Marine 
Hospital, where they were paid off, a day or two later, and 
dispersed to their homes. 

The names of 200 officers and men of the Third who 
were killed or died of wounds received in action, have been 
already given in this regimental record. To these may pro- 
perly be added the names of the martyrs who died of disease 
or starvation in the enemy's hands. These were as follows ; 


Company B Aiken Giloe, captured May, '64, died at Anderson ville, 
Ga., June 8, '64; Goodwin W. Stevens, wounded and captured May 6, '64, 
died in prison ; Oel Wardner, died at Andersonville, November 5, '64. 

Company C Frederick B. Avery, died at Andersonville, March 13, '65. 

Company I William Coville, captured June 2, '64, died at Anderson- 
ville, August 12, '64; Silas Forrest, captured June 2, '64, died at Ander- 
sonville, August 29, '64; William B. McCollister, captured June 2, '64, 
died at Andersonville, October 20, '64 ; William O'Brien, captured June 2, 
'64, died at Andersonville, April 23, '65 ; Frank Papineau, captured June 
2, '64, died at Andersonville, August 14, '64. 


The battles in which the Third had honorable part, as 
officially recorded, were as follows : 


Lewinsville, Sept, 11, 1861. 

Lee's Mill, April 16, 1862. 

Williamsburg, May 5, 1862. 

Golding's Farm, June 26, 1862. 

Savage's Station, June 29, 1362. 

White Oak Swamp, June 30 1862. 

Crampton's Gap, Sept. 14, 1862. 

Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. 

First Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862. 

Marye's Heights, May 3, 1863. 

Salem Heights, May 4, 1863. 

Fredericksburg, June 5, 1863. 

Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

Funkstown, July 10, 1863. 

Rappahannock Station, -...-.. Nov. 7, 1863. 

Wilderness, May 5 to 10, 1864. 

Spottsylvania, May 10 to 18, 1864. 

Cold Harbor, June 1 to 12, 1864. 

Petersburg, June 18, 1864. 

Ream's Station, June 29, 1864. 

Washington, July 11, 1864. 

Charlestown, Aug. 21, 1864. 

Opequan, Sept. 13, 1864. 

Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864 

Fisher's Hill, Sept. 21 and 22, 1864. 

Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864. 

Petersburg, March 25 and 27, 1865. 

Petersburg, April 2, 1865. 


The final statement of the Third Vermont is as follows : 


Original members com. officers 33, enlisted men 843, total 881 

Gain: recruits 919; transferred from other regiments 9, total 928 

Aggregate 1,809 


Killed in action com. officers 3, enlisted men 127, total 130 

Died of wounds com. officers 2, enlisted men 68, total 70 

Died of disease- com. officers 1, enlisted men 143, total 144 

Died, not of wounds, in Confederate prisons enlisted men 9 

Died from accidents enlisted men 4 

Total of deaths 357 

Promoted to other regiments or to U. S. Army, officers 6, men 5, total... .11 
Transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps and other organizations 

com. officers 3, enlisted men 106, total 109 

Honorably discharged, Com. officers, resigned 24 ; for disabilities 10, total. 34 
Enlisted men honorably discharged, for disabilities 368, for wounds, 38. ..406 

Dishonorably discharged Com. officers 2, enlisted men 12, total 14 

Paroled prisoners discharged enlisted men 3 

Total by discharge 457 

Deserted 285, dropped from roll 1, unaccounted for 8, total 294 

Mustered out com officers 45, enlisted men 536, total 581 

Aggregate 1,809 

Total wounded 426 

Re-enlisted... 204 



Call for more Troops in August, 1861 Organization of the Regiment Its 
Field and Staff Camp Holbrook Delays in Equipment and of De- 
parture Journey to Washington Arrival at Camp Advance Joins 
First Brigade at Camp Griffin Remarkable Period of Sickness The 
Spring Campaign of 1862 March to Flint Hill and Cloud's Mills The 
Peninsula First shot at Lee's Mill Losses at Lee's Mill Service at 
Williamsburg and in front of Richmond Changes of Officers Cramp- 
ton's Gap and Antietam Arrival of Recruits Promotion of Colonel 
Stoughton and Changes of Officers - First Fredericksburg Winter 
Quarters at Belle Plain Marye's Heights and Banks's Ford March 
to Gettysburg Loss at Funkstown Winter at Brandy Station- 
Resignation of Colonel C. B. Stoughton Sketch of Colonel George P. 
Foster Losses in the Wilderness and the Overland Campaign Misfor- 
tune at Weldon Railroad Action at Charlestown Expiration of Three 
Years' Term The Shenandoah Campaign In the Lines of Petersburg 
The Final Assault End of the War and Return Home. 

The response of Yermont to the news of the disastrous 
battle of the first Bull Run was a proclamation by Governor 
Fairbanks, dated July 30th, 1861, calling for the immediate 
enlistment of two more three years' regiments of volunteers, 
in addition to the two already sent forward. In this procla- 
mation he anticipated the coming call for troops from Wash- 
ington. He said in it : " The events of the 21st instant and 
" the retreat of the United States Army from the field near 
" Manassas Junction, demonstrated the necessity of a greatly 
"increased national force, and although no formal requisi- 
" tion has been made upon me by the secretary of war, nor 
"any apportionment of troops as the quota for this State 


c communicated, yet the events referred to indicate clearly 
" the necessity of exercising the discretionary power conferred 
" on me by the aforesaid act for raising and organizing addi- 
tional regiments. Orders will therefore be issued imme- 
" diately to the adjutant and inspector general for enlisting 
" the Fourth and Fifth regiments of volunteers for three 
"years or during the war, to be tendered to the general 
" government as soon as it may be practicable to arm, equip 
" and discipline the troops for service." Commissions were 
at once issued to twenty recruiting officers in different parts 
of the State, and the work of enlistment of men began. A 
despatch received at this time from the secretary of war, 
urging the governor to send on any more troops at his dis- 
posal " in view of imminent danger," showed that the gov- 
ernor had not been hasty in anticipating the action of the 
authorities at Washington. In order to hasten recruiting 
he thereupon commissioned twenty more recruiting officers 
on the 19th of August ; and in a second proclamation, dated 
August 20th, he earnestly called upon the citizens, "espe- 
cially the young men of the State, to enroll their names at 
the several recruiting stations for the service of their coun- 

Within thirty days after the governor's proclamation of 
July 30th, men enough to fill two full regiments had been 
recruited, and most of the companies composing them or- 
ganized. The men of the Fourth were enlisted for the most 
part in towns in the southern part of the State. The colo- 
nelcy was offered to Lieut. Colonel Washburn of the First re- 
giment, who declined it on account of the precarious condi- 
tion of his health. Lieutenant Edwin H. Stoughton, U. S. A., 
was then appointed colonel. He was a native of Bellows Falls ; 
a graduate of West Point, of the class of 1859 ; and a second 
lieutenant in the Sixth U. S. Infantry. He resigned his com- 
mission in December, 1860, when many regular army officers 
resigned, the resignation to take effect on the 4th of March 


1861, when the term of Abraham Lincoln as President was 
to begin ; but he subsequently reconsidered his determination 
and withdrew his resignation with a view of entering the 
volunteer service. He was but twenty three years of age 
when appointed colonel of the Fourth, and was said to be 
the youngest colonel in the army at that time. Colonel 
Stoughton's commission bore date of August 1st, 1861, 
The other field and staff officers were appointed about two 
weeks later. 

Major Harry N. Worthen of Bradford, lately of the First 
regiment was appointed lieutenant colonel. John C. Tyler of 
Brattleboro, a young man of 22, was appointed major ; 
Charles B. Stoughton of Bellows Falls, a younger brother of 
the colonel, a youth of nineteen years, was appointed adjut- 
ant ; the regimental staff were John Halsey Cushman of 
Bennington, quartermaster ; Dr. Samuel J. Allen of Hartford, 
surgeon; Dr. Willard A. Child of Pittsford, asst. surgeon; 
and Kev. Salem M. Plympton, a Congregational clergyman 
of West Haven, Conn., chaplain. 

The rendezvous was fixed at Brattleboro, and as fast as 
the companies were organized they went into camp there, 
the first arriving September 12th, and the last September 
14th. The camp was named " Camp Holbrook," in honor of 
Hon. Frederick Holbrook of Brattleboro, who had just been 
elected Governor. The preceding regiments had been uni- 
formed by the State, in gray ; but the uniforms of the Fourth 
were furnished by the General Government, and were of army 
blue (dark blue blouses and light blue pantaloons,) with hats 
of black felt, similar to those worn by the U. S. regular 
troops. The arms were Enfield rifles. The regiment com- 
pared favorably in material and personal appearance with 
those that had already gone from Vermont. The standard- 
bearer was six feet seven and a half inches tall. Most of the 
field and staff officers were young, much younger than those 
of the other regiments, but some of them, as well as a number 


of the company officers, had had some experience in the First 

On the 14th of September, before the regiment was fairly 
full, or any uniforms and equipments had been received, 
Governor Fairbanks received directions from the War De- 
partment to send forward the Fourth and Fifth Vermont 
regiments at once, the Department giving assurance that 
any deficiencies in the outfit of the regiments would be sup- 
plied upon their arrival at "Washington. The Governor 
accordingly ordered the regiments forward ; but the officers 
strongly objected to leaving the State until the men were 
fully equipped, representing that by such a move the dis- 
cipline of the regiment would be seriously impaired. In 
consideration of all the circumstances the Governor consented 
that the departure should be delayed until the men could be 
properly equipped, and it was a week later before the regi- 
ment started for the war. Camp life was a new experience 
to the men, and during the rainy week at Camp Holbrook, 
nearly 300 men were sick from change of diet and unwonted 
exposure. On the 20th, overcoats and pantaloons were dis- 
tributed among the men, and on the 21st of September, the 
Fourth regiment, numbering 1,042 officers and men, was 
mustered into the service of the United States. A regi- 
mental band of 24 pieces was organized with and accom- 
panied the regiment. The regiment left Brattleboro for 
Washington on the evening of the 21st, and arrived at Jersey 
City, by steamer from New Haven, on the morning of the 23d. 
The New York newspapers, as usual, praised its appear- 
ance and discipline, as well as the completeness of its equip- 
ment, in all which respects, they said, it rivaled the best 
troops in the field. At Philadelphia an excellent supper was 
served by the citizens and was appreciated by the men, who 
had had little or nothing but dry bread since leaving Camp 

The regiment reached Washington Monday evening, 
September 23d, having had on the whole a comfortable 


journey from Vermont, and the next morning went into camp 
on Capitol Hill, where it remained four days. On Saturday 
morning, the 28th, an order came to strike tents and march 
to Chain Bridge, where the Second, Third and Fifth regi- 
ments were now encamped, the last of these having arrived 
at Camp Advance the day before, though it left Vermont a 
day or two later than the Fourth. 

Here the men had their first experience in picket duty. 
For the ten days following nothing occurred of more conse- 
quence than the wounding of a man by the accidental dis- 
charge of a musket in the hands of a comrade with whom he 
was sparring bayonets. On the 9th of October the regiment 
moved with General Smith's division to Lewinsville, Va., 
where the men lay on their arms all night, and suffered much 
from cold. Next day they received their tents and went into 
camp on Smoot's Hill, at Camp Griffin, the camp of the 
First Vermont brigade which was organized about this time. 

October 19th, seven companies of the Fourth accompa- 
nied the Fifth regiment on a reconnoissance to Vienna, and 
on the 24th the regiment participated in a Division review. 

While the weather remained fine the health of the regi- 
ment continued good ; but as the period of cold nights and 
fall rains came on, the men began to sicken. On the 9th 
of November, Surgeon Allen reported 200 men sick in hos- 
pital, and within a month this number nearly doubled. 

A more definite cause was assignable in the case of the 
the Fourth, for the sickness then prevailing throughout the 
Vermont brigade, than in the cases of some of the other 
regiments. The water for the camp was supplied by a brook, 
which received the surface water from a slope on which a 
thousand cavalry horses had stood for two months previous. 
That malarial epidemics should have been developed under 
such circumstances was not surprising. Moreover some of the 
men still lacked overcoats, and suffered from exposure. The 
moving of the camp, about the middle of December, to a 


pine grove on higher ground, together with an ample supply 
of clothing received from Vermont, effected an immediate 
change for the better. On the 13th of December there were 
360 men of the Fourth in hospital. Two weeks later, on the 
27th, there were but 60. Surgeons Allen and Child were 
untiring in their labors, during this period of sickness, and 
their skill and care is attested by the fact that of some 2,000 
cases of sickness in two months many of the men suffering 
repeated attacks but 26 proved fatal. 

The regiment remained at Camp Griffin through the 
winter, taking its turn once in five days on picket. 

In January, 1862, owing, as it was reported, to some mis- 
understanding with General Smith, Colonel Stoughton sent 
in his resignation ; but subsequently withdrew it. On the 
17th of January, Major Tyler resigned, and Adjutant Charles 
B. Stoughton, who had shown decided aptitude for military 
duties, was promoted to the vacancy. 

On the 10th of March, the Fourth left Camp Griffin, in 
the movement of the Army of the Potomac towards Manas- 
sas. It camped that night at Flint Hill, north of Fairfax 
Court House, where it remained until the 15th, and thence 
marched to Cloud's Mills, four miles northwest of Alexandria. 
On the 23d, it marched with the brigade to Alexandria and 
embarked on transports for Fortress Monroe, arriving there 
early on the morning of the 25th, and going into camp in a 
grove of pines, about half way between Hampton and New- 
port News. On the 27th the regiment went out with the 
division, on a reconnoissance in force, bivouacking near Big 
Bethel that night and returning next day to the camp near 
Newport News. A week later, on the 4th of April, the regi- 
ment marched in the grand advance of General McClellan's 
army up the Peninsula, and bivouacked that night at Young's 
Mills, near a Confederate earthwork which had been evac- 
uated the day previous. Next day it marched through War- 
wick Court House, and halted with the army before the 



enemy's fortified line along Warwick Creek. Picket duty was 
now performed in much closer proximity to the Confederate 
pickets than heretofore; and on the 7th of April, private 
Madison M. Myrick, of Co. C., a youth of 19, was shot 
through the leg, by the enemy's pickets, being the first man 
of the regiment hurt by a Confederate bullet. 

On the 16th of April, the regiment went into its first 
action, in the memorable engagement at Lee's Mill. It was 
the first regiment of the brigade to move in the morning, 
and the first shot was fired by Colonel St ought on. 1 He had 
deployed Companies B., Captain Platt, and G., Captain 
Foster, as skirmishers, and accompanied them in person 
through the woods to the edge of Warwick Creek, above the 
dam. As they arrived in sight of the earthwork on the other 
side, Colonel Stoughton took a musket from a man and dis- 
charged it at the works, within which the morning ceremony 
of guard-mounting was in progress. His men followed his 
example, and drew from the enemy a brisk response, both of 
small arms and artillery, till the latter was silenced by the 
fire of the Vermonters, and by the Union batteries. At noon 
Companies E. and K. relieved Companies B. and G., and 
later in the day Companies D. and H. were sent to strengthen 
the skirmish line. In the afternoon, after the failure of the 
first assault, the remaining four companies, A., F., I. and C., 
advanced to the end of the dam to take part in the second 
attempt to carry the Confederate works, but were withdrawn 
by General Smith's order, before crossing the creek. The 
loss of the regiment was two killed, David J. Dibble, and 
Stephen B. Niles, both of Co. I. each shot through the head 
and 10 wounded, one of whom, Franklin N. Grimes, of Co. 
C., died of his wounds two weeks after. Among the severely 
wounded was Captain H. B. Atherton, Company C, who re- 
ceived a bullet in the groin, which passed into the pelvic 

1 Letter of Assistant Surgeon Child to the Rutland Herald. 


cavity and occasioned his honorable discharge four months 

In the two weeks following, the regiment was chiefly 
occupied in picket service and fatigue duty on the fortifica- 
tions along Warwick Creek. 

In the battle of Williamsburg, May 5th, an important 
reconnoissance of the road by which General Hancock's 
brigade afterward turned the enemy's left, was made by four 
companies of the left wing of the regiment. Of the subse- 
quent marching to and fatigue duty in front of Richmond 
the regiment had its share ; and in the engagements at Gold- 
ing's Farm, Savage's Station, and White Oak Swamp, on the 
Seven Days' Eetreat, the Fourth had an honorable part, else- 
where related. The regiment had one man killed May 23d, 1 
and five sick and three wounded men of the Fourth were 
among the 2,500 sick and wounded Union soldiers who fell 
into the hands of the enemy at Savage's Station, June 29th. 

Lieut. Colonel Worthen, after an absence of several 
weeks from the regiment, on sick leave his illness dating 
from the extraordinary fatigue of the march up the Peninsula 
resigned July 17th, on account of ill health. Major Charles 
B. Stoughton was thereupon promoted to the lieutenant 
colonelcy, and Captain George P. Foster of Company G., suc- 
ceeded him as major. 

The regiment remained at Harrison's Landing until 
August 16th. The weather was hot, and the men had no 
shelter from sun or rain the tents of the brigade having 
been left behind on the retreat. On the 16th of August it 
moved with the Sixth corps down the Peninsula, reaching 
Fortress Monroe, by easy marches, on the 22d, and leaving 
next daj 7 by transports for Acquia Creek. 

The regiment shared the labors and the triumphs of the 
First brigade in the Antietam campaign, during which it was 

1 Sergeant Charles Whit well, Co ; B. 


commanded by Lieut. Colonel Stoughton, Colonel Stoughton 
being absent. It distinguished itself especially in the storming 
of Crampton's Gap, September 14th, when it captured on the 
crest of the mountain a Confederate major, five line officers, 
115 men and the colors of the Sixteenth Virginia, which are 
preserved among the trophies of the Civil "War, in the War 
Department at "Washington. The loss of the regiment that 
day was one killed and 14 wounded, two of whom died of 
their wounds. 1 

In the battle of Antietam, September 17th, the Fourth 
had six men wounded, three of whom died of their wounds. 9 
Among the wounded was Second Lieutenant W. H. Martin, 
of Company A. 

During the thirty three days' stay of the Yermont brigade 
at Hagerstown, Md., after Antietam, the Fourth received 109 
recruits a welcome accession, as its ranks had been much 
reduced by death, wounds and sickness. The morning report 
of September 20th, showed an aggregate of 798 officers and 
men. Thirty-seven men of the Fourth were reported in the 
hospitals in Philadelphia, October 7th, and many more were 
in other hospitals or at home on sick leave. 

On the 5th of November, Colonel E. H. Stoughton was 
appointed Brigadier General of Yolunteers and assigned to 
the command of the Second Yermont brigade, and his brother, 
Lieut. Colonel Charles B. Stoughton, succeeded to the colo- 
nelcy. He had shown coolness and capacity in action, and 
was respected by his command as a brave soldier. Major 
George P. Foster was thereupon appointed lieutenant colonel 
and Captain Stephen M. Pingree, of Co. K., was promoted 
to the majority. About this time, Chaplain Plympton re- 
signed, and Eev. John L. Eoberts, a Methodist Episcopal 
clergyman of Chelsea, was appointed chaplain in his place. 

1 M. F. Murray, Co. C., was killed, and D. C. Adams, and M. B. John- 
son, Co. G., died of wounds. 

5 C. Stockdale, Co. C.; V. W. Mayott, Co. G. and J. P. Harris, Co. H. 


The first week in November found the regiment back 
near the Kappahannock, with the rest of the Sixth corps and 
the army ; and there was little excitement till, on the llth of 
December, Burn side made his disastrous attempt to force 
the heights of Fredericksburg. On the 13th the Fourth 
was sent out under command of Lieut. Colonel Foster (who 
is mentioned as deserving of special praise in Colonel 
Stoughton's report of the affair) on the skirmish line, in front 
of General Howe's division of the Sixth corps, and suffered 
severely, losing 11 killed and 45 wounded, three of whom 
died of their wounds. 1 Four men in one company, Co. B., 
were killed, and 14 wounded, by a single discharge of canis- 
ter, and the regimental colors were riddled with canister shot 
and musket balls. The color bearer was wounded, and the 
colors were afterwards carried by Corporal Shay, of Co. B. 
Among the killed was Captain George "W. Quimby, of Co. D., 
who was acting as major. While bravely discharging his 
duties he was struck in the neck by a ball which cut the 
jugular vein. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College, was 
Principal of Barton Academy previous to his enlistment, and 
was a young man of fine abilities and estimable character. 
His loss was deeply felt in the regiment. 

On the 1st of January, 1863, the regiment being then in 
camp at Belle Plain Ya., the morning report showed an 
aggregate of 793 men, of whom 457 were present for duty. 
Between the 17th and 22d of January it participated in Gen- 
eral Burnside's " Mud Campaign." The regiment passed the 
rest of the winter in camp, doing light guard and picket duty, 
and giving some attention to drill. 

In the storming of Marye's Heights at the Second Fred- 

'The killed were : L. A. Davis, John H. Minott, Co. A.; R. A. Brock, 
C. Cleveland, H. H. Johnson, E.M. Sprout, Co. B.,K R. Moulton, Co. D.; 
J. Bruce, R. H. Dearborn, Co. G., and S. B. Ray, Co. I. 

Those who died of wounds were : T. H. Joy, O. Pease, Co. F., and 
H. O. Kent, Co. G. 


ericksburg, May 3d, 1863, the Fourth was in the third line 
of the assaulting column, and scaled the heights with the 
loss of only one man wounded. In the engagement in front 
of Banks's Ford, next day, the Fourth fought on fche extreme 
left of the brigade, and lost one man killed, 1 22 wounded and 
seven missing. Among the wounded was Lieutenant Thomas 
Ensworth, of Co. C. Colonel Stoughton. and Captain Addi- 
son Brown, who was acting as inspector general on General 
L. A. Grant's staff, were specially mentioned for gallantry in 
this action, in the report of the brigade commander. 

Notable among the many individual exploits in this 
battle, was the capture, by Sergeant Eobert J. Coffey of 
Company K., single handed, of a captain and lieutenant of 
the Twenty-First North Carolina, and five privates of the 
Eighth Louisiana. These, after the repulse of Hoke's and 
Hays's brigades by the Vermont brigade, had sought shelter 
in a ravine in front of the Fourth Vermont. Sergeant Coffey 
who was among the skirmishers, came suddenly upon them, 
ordered them to surrender, and when they complied, threw 
their mueliets into the stream and secured the swords of the 
officers before they discovered that he was alone, and then, 
aided by some men of Company A., who came to his assist- 
ance, secured and marched them all in, to their intense morti- 

The regiment marched with the Sixth corps to Gettys- 
burg, and was the only regiment of the old brigade actually 
engaged on that field this was on the skirmish line on the 
extreme left, at the close of the third day. Its loss was one 
man severely wounded. 

In the famous affair at Funkstown, July 10th, Colonel 
C. B. Stoughton received a severe wound from a bullet which 
entered his forehead just above the right eye, causing the 
loss of the eye, and his resignation six months later. The 

1 Henry J. Bush, Co. F. 


regiment here lost one man killed ' and 23 wounded, one of 
them mortally. 

The Fourth went to New York city with the brigade in 
August, to maintain order during the drafts. On the passage 
seven companies, which were on the transport Illinois, nar- 
rowly escaped shipwreck by a collision of the steamer with 
a schooner laden with stone. 

On the 24th of September, at Culpepper Court House, 
Va., the regiment received an accession of nearly 200 recruits 
and conscripts, which increased by a third the number pres- 
ent for duty, and on the 1st of October the morning report 
showed an aggregate of 774, of which number 649 were 
present for duty. 

On the llth of October, Commissary Sergeant H. W. 
Spafford was captured by guerrillas near Brandy Station and 
taken to Eichmond, where he was a prisoner for five months* 
till paroled March 21st, 1864. 

The Fourth spent the winter with the Sixth corps at 
Brandy Station, Va., its numbers increasing slightly by the 
addition of recruits, and its sick list diminishing, till on the 
1st of May, at the opening of the Spring Campaign, the 
number present for duty was 719, out of an aggregate of 839, 
being the largest return of men present for duty known in 
the history of the regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Foster was 
in command of the regiment during the winter, Colonel 
Stoughton being on leave and on special duty in New York 
city. On the 2d of February, Colonel Stoughton resigned in 
consequence of his wound, and Lieut. Colonel Foster be- 
came colonel. On the 30th of April, Major Stephen M. 
Pingree was promoted to the lieutenant colonelcy, and 
Captain John E. Pratt of Company A. was appointed major. 
The new commander, Colonel Foster, was a native of Walden. 

i G. W. Ball, Co. C. was killed, and M. H. Bartlett, Co. C. mortally 


He had had an academic education in his youth, and the 
subsequent training of a district school teacher in his open- 
ing manhood. He enlisted in September, 1861, at the age of 
25, and was chosen captain of his company. In the field he 
soon won distinction as one of the coolest and most capable 
of the line officers, and, though not the ranking captain, was 
appointed major, for merit, upon the promotion of Major 
Stoughton, in July, 1862. He had been lieutenant colonel 
for fifteen months, and much of the time in command of the 
regiment. Of stalwart proportions, and handsome face and 
figure, he was one of the finest looking officers in the brigade. 
He was a favorite with his men, distinguished himself as em- 
phatically a fighting colonel, and won a brevet as brigadier 
general, for gallant and meritorious conduct in the Shenan- 
doah Campaign, and before Petersburg. 1 

During the winter, 210 men of the original members of 
the Fourth re-enlisted for the war. 

On the 4th of May the brigade crossed the Eapidan at 
Germania Ford, with about 600 muskets, and on the three 
days following the regiment had its share in the battles of 
the Wilderness, in which it suffered the greatest loss of offi- 
cers of any regiment in the brigade, having 16 killed and 
wounded, being over two-thirds of the number present for 
duty. Colonel Foster was severely w r ounded in the thigh in 
the battle of the 5th, and during the remainder of the battle 
the regiment was commanded by Major Pratt. Captains W. 
D. Carpenter, Dennis W. Farr and Daniel Lillie, and Lieute- 
nants L. A. Putnam, T. Ensworth, W. L. Wooster and W. H. 
Martin were killed or mortally wounded. Captains George 
H. Amidon and A. W. Fisher, Adjutant G. B. French and 

1 General Foster returned to Vermont with his regiment at the close of 
the war, and afterwards, for nine years, from 1870 until his death, March 
19th, 1879, held the office of U. S. Marshal of the District of Vermont. 
In this he won additional distinction by his bold arrest of the Fenian com- 
mander, General O'Neill, in the midst of his army, during the Fenian in- 
vasion of Canada, in 1870. 


Lieutenants E. W. Carter, J. B. Brooks, L. B. Scott, W. C. 
Tracy, H. W. Morton and L. F. Richardson were wounded, 
and the casualties of the regiment reached the mournful total 
of 257, or over forty per cent of its effective force. Of these 
34 were killed, 194 wounded, of whom 45 died of their 
wounds, and 29 missing, some of whom were probably killed. 1 
Among the officers specially mentioned for gallantry by 
the Brigade commander was Captain A. Brown of the Fourth 
w r ho was on the General's staff and for some time the only 
staff officer fit for duty, the two other aids having been 
wounded and captured during the first day's battle. Quarter- 
master Henry T. Cushman is also mentioned as having ren- 
dered efficient service on the staff of the brigade commander. 
The regiment marched during the night of May 7th, to 
Chancellorsville, where the brigade was detached to guard the 
train of the Sixth corps. In the morning of the 9th the 
Fourth under Major Pratt, was deployed on the skirmish 
line while the brigade fortified its position, and lost several 
men. Among the killed was Sergeant William Cunningham, 
Co. D., who was one of the most brave and zealous men in 

1 The rank and file killed in the Wilderness were: Co. A-O. 
H. Barnes, G. Bracy, J. Leazer ; Co. C L. A. Bryant, A. Burt ; Co. D 
J. Streeter; Co. E F. Eastman, L. Spencer; Co. F M. C. Chapman, 
W. H. Haraden, L. W. Kendall, W. H. Roberts; Co. G H. H. Dun. 
ton, E. W. Ormsby 3d, P. Sullivan, S. Webber ; Co. H W. S. Aiken, W. 
W. Heath, L. B. Paquette, D. O. Perry, A. Snow, B. B. Wilson ; Co. I 
.J. R. Campbell, D. H. Jones, J. Streeter, J. B. Webster; Co. K J. J. 
Chadwick, A. Eastman, T. Lowler, A. D. Smith. 

The following died of their wounds : Co. A S. A. Capron, H. Fales, H.N. 
Woodworth, H. York; Co. B H. M. Smith; Co. C J. W. Blanchard, L. 
Carpenter, T. Eagan, L. W. Griswold, J. B. H. Larrabee, J. A. Miller, E. 
Robinson, R. Wickware ; Co. D J. Ball, W. J. Cutting ; J. Edson, T W. 
Griffin, J. H. Hulburt, R. Rodger, N. P. Walker ; Co. E S. Barnard, 
T. S. Grover, W. H. Jones, I. A. Stevens; Co. F G. W. Hill, J. 
Huutington; Co. G H. C. Magoon, W. H. H. Marsh, W. E. Parrish; 
Co. H N. Bailey, F. Cudworth, S. W. Leighton, E. Robinson, J. F. Ryder, 
D. F. Skinner, J. Wilmot; Co. I G. T. Abbott,* N. Amlaw, E. G. Carpen. 
ter, L. G. Kellogg; Co. K H. Amidon, J. M. Montgomery, P. F. Pierce. 

* " Severely wounded " May 5 not heard of after. 


the regiment. The regiment held the skirmish line until the 
afternoon of the next day, during which the Union line was 
advanced and the enemy's skirmishers driven back to his 
line of works, for which the Fourth received high commend- 

On the 12th, at Spottsylvania, the Fourth fought in the 
front line, and its losses in that week of almost constant 
fighting were four killed and 44 wounded, 13 of whom died 
of their wounds. 1 At Cold Harbor it was again engaged, 
losing one man killed on the skirmish line and seven wounded, 
six of whom died of their wounds. 2 Lieutenant A. K. Par- 
sons of Co. A., detailed as aide-de-camp on the staff of 
General "W. T. H. Brooks, commanding the First division of 
the Eighteenth Army Corps, was killed while gallantly dis- 
charging his duties during the charge of Brooks's division in 
the morning of the 3d. 

On the 16th the regiment crossed the James with the 
brigade, in the movement of the division to Petersburg, 
where on the 23d, the regiment suffered the greatest loss 
of men by capture it ever experienced. It was engaged 
with the brigade and the Sixth corps in a movement against 
the Weldon Railroad, and was thrown out in front under 
command of Major Pratt, with a battalion of the Eleventh. 
The enemy broke through the line with a strong force, and 
surrounded and captured seven officers and 137 men of the 
Fourth, as well as almost the entire battalion of the Eleventh. 
The colors of the Fourth were saved by the activity and 

1 The killed at Spottsylvania were ; O. Burt, W. Cunningham, Co. D.j 
S. H. Thompson, Co. H. ; C. M. Landers, Co. I. 

Those dying of their wounds were : J. Hofnagle, E. Knapp, Co. A.; 
S. C. Edwards, Co. C. ; T. R. Boutwell, E. E. Hartson, M. McGuire, E. M. 
Robbins, Co. D. ; J. Kelly, T. W. Hall, Co. E.; H. O. Marsh, G. E. Stone, 
Co. G. ; T. \V. Hall, Co. I., and C. E. Prouty, Co. H. 

2 A. M. Ford, Co. K., was killed at Cold Harbor and C. H. Perry, W. 
B. Stevens, J. P. Woodbury, Co. G.; D. Barton, P. [Smith, and L. Stearns 
Co. K., died of wounds. 


coolness of the color guard. The officers so captured were 
Major Pratt, Captains Chapin and Bontin, and Lieutenants 
Carr, Fisher, Needham and Pierce. 

Among the killed was Captain William C. Tracy, of 
Co. G. His dead body was found on the field next day, 
stripped of arms, watch, money and boots, and surrounded 
by the muskets of his men, showing that he had rallied his 
company around him, and that they threw down their arms 
only when their gallant leader had fallen. Captain Tracy 
was a son of the late E. C. Tracy, of Windsor, long editor of 
the Vermont Chronicle, and a great grandson of Roger Sher- 
man. He was a remarkably brave, modest, intelligent and 
capable officer. He entered the service as second lieutenant 
in Co. K., was made first lieutenant of Co. H., in November, 
1862, and had been recently promoted to a captaincy for 
meritorious service in the Wilderness. He was acting adjut- 
ant of the regiment after the Wilderness, carrying the while, 
imbedded in his face, a buckshot received in that battle. 
His death was a severe loss to the command. 

Three men of the Fourth were killed, and several wound- 
ed, three of them mortally, this day. 1 Among the wounded was 
Captain Charles G. Fisher, of Co. I. The aggregate loss of 
the regiment in this affair was 153 men, out of about 200 
taken out to the skirmish line. One company, Co. E., escaped 
entire. The roll call next morning showed but 67 muskets 
left in line, with three commissioned officers, lieutenants, 
present for duty, and the regiment was consolidated into a 
little battalion of two companies, the men left of companies 
E., K. and G., forming one, and those of the seven other 
companies, another ; all under the temporary command of 
Captain Addison Brown, Jr. 

'C. A. Smith, Co. C., G. H. Cushman, Co. G., O. W. Payne, Co. K., 
were killed. Those dying of their wounds were J. Minott, Co. A., J. N. 
Lease. Co. D., W. J. Sly, Co. H. 


It is one of the sad duties of the historian to mention 
the mournful fact, that of the men so captured, no less than 
sixty-five, being nearly one half of the number, died in Con- 
federate prisons. The names of these martyrs, with the dates 
of their deaths, so far as known, are as follows. Most of them 
died in the prison pen of Andersonville, Ga. 


[Captured June 23, 1864.] 

Company A. G. Baxter, died Jan. 6, '65; C. B. Buxton, Oct. 6, '64; 
A. Ranney, Oct. 24, '64 ; W. A Webster, Oct. 9, '64 ; S. F. Dunbar, (at Wil- 
mington, N. C.,) Mar. 18, '65; P. Bemis, J. Blair, C. Burnham, H. L. 
Veber, N. Mann, Dec. 31, '64; N. L. Webster, Dec. 23, '64. 11. 

Company C.E. S. Palmer, Aug. 23, '64; B. H. Patch, Oct. 20, '64; 
F. Pillsbury, Sept. 29, '64 ; C. F. Hatch. 4. 

Company D. E. Bailey, Feb. 3, '65 ; C. Bunker, Oct. 11, '64 ; F. F. 
Dewey, Aug. 25, '64 ; P. H. Farrell, Oct. 22, '64 ; C. E. Lumsden, Feb. 8, 
'65 ; C. O. Blodgett, H. W. Varney, Dec. 20, '64. 7. 

Company F. A. L. Bontell, Oct. 1, '64; J. Clifford, C. W. Elliott, 
Oct., '64; C. A. Ferguson, Oct., '64, J. A. Ingraham, Oct., '64; F. W. 
Rice, Oct. 31, '64; We Ryerson, Oct. 31, '64; Royal O. Scott, Dec. 12, 
'64; T. B. Sexton, Sept. 11, '64; G. A. Wells, Sept., '64; J. M. Woods, 
Oct., '64; T. Young, Feb. 25, '65 ; A. F. Bailey, Jan. 22, 65, (at Salisbury, 
N. C.); J. F. Drury, Feb. 11, '65; W. C. Stevens. 15. 

Company G.J. E. Paul, Oct. 2, '64; H. M. Sanborn, Oct. 11, '64; 
W. Twaddle, Oct. 26, '64; E. G. Williams, Nov. 24, '64, at Florence, 
S. C. ; S. W. Rollins, Jan. 14, '65 ; O. Nelson. 6. 

Company H. E. P. Gerry, Jan. 26, '65; A. B. Perry, Mar. 3, '65; 
F. A. Skinner, Aug., '64; W. A- Smith, Aug., '64; J. H. Wakefield, Oct. 
21, '64; J. H. Eaton, E. H. Preston, (at Millen, Ga.) ; J. M. Hibbard. 8. 

Company I. S. H. Nelson, Dec. 13, '64; E. W. Paige, Oct. 17, '64; 
N. T. Pike, Nov. 30, '64 ; W. A. Thompson, Oct. 20, '64 ; N. J. Howard, 
Oct. 23, '64, (Millen) ; J. C. Hogan. 6. 

Company K. W. P. Fisk, Oct. 14, '64; C. V. Flint, Oct. 23, '64. 
A. B. Stile, Oct. 12, '64. 3. 

J. Smith, Co. A., and R. J. Round, Co. H., were captured that day, 
and not heard from after. They probably died in the enemy's hands. 
Zclotes Drown and S. B. Rogers, Co. D., and G. H. Esterbrooks, Co. I., 
who died in March, '65, are believed to have died from the results of their 
imprisonment, if not actually in prison. 

On the 30th of June, the morning report showed 282 
men present for duty, out of an aggregate of 716. The list 
of sick and wounded numbered 275. The Fourth, what was 


left of it, went with the Sixth corps to Washington, in July, 
to head off Early's raid, shared the hard marching in Mary- 
land and the Shenandoah Valley which followed; and on 
the 21st of August, at Charlestown, Ya., formed part of the 
skirmish line which drove the enemy's skirmishers for a mile, 
and held its ground all day, in front of a hostile line of battle 
with artillery. Its loss this day was one officer killed, Lieu- 
tenant Luther B. Scott, of Co. E., a brave young soldier 
who went out from Cabot as a private and 10 men wounded, 
one fatally. 1 

The Fourth had an honorable part in Sheridan's cam- 
paign in the Shenandoah Valley, and lost at Winchester, 
September 19th, Lieutenant Ransom W. Towle 2 of Company 
E. mortally wounded, and two men killed 3 and 14 wounded. 

Next day, September 20th, 1864, the three years' term 
of the original members of the regiment expired. Of these 
210 had re-enlisted. The surviving remainder, numbering 
10 officers viz : Lieut. Colonel S. M. Pingree, Adjutant 
G. B. French, Quartermaster H. T. Cushman, Surgeon S. J. 
Allen, Ass't Surgeon A. B. Bixby, Captain A. W. Fisher, 
First Lieutenants A. K. Nichols and W. W. Morton ; Second 
Lieutenants F. Hastings and W. E. Eussell and 136 men, 
started for Vermont, September 21st. They arrived at Brat- 
tleboro, September 29th, when they were received by the 
citizens with an address of welcome by Hon. S. M. Waite, 
and next day were honorably mustered out of the service, 
and dispersed to their homes. 

The regiment after the departure of those whose time 

1 Joseph Marson, Co. H. 

2 Lieutenant Towle enlisted as a private, from Rochester, Vt. , at the 
age of 25, was promoted sergeant September 21, 1861; was wounded at 
Savage's Station, Ya. June 29th, 1862, and was promoted second lieu- 
tenant Co. A. May 17, 1864. He was a hrave and meritorious officer. 

3 Zacheus Blood and C. A. Blanchard, Co. C. The latter is recorded 
as killed near Winchester, September 13, 1864. 


had expired, still had an aggregate of 550 men, of which 
number, however, only about 200 were present for duty 144 
being still in the hands of the enemy, and 200 sick. The 
regiment fought at Fisher's Hill, September 21st and 22d, 
and at Cedar Creek, October 19th, where it lost six men 
killed and 20 wounded, two of whom died of their wounds. 
Among the wounded was Captain George H. Amidon of Com- 
pany E., detailed on General Grant's staff, and Captain Aikens 
of Company A., who received a wound which occasioned his 
honorable discharge five months later. 1 At Cedar Creek, 
Colonel Foster being in command of the picket line, the regi- 
ment was placed with the Third under command of Major 
Floyd of the Third. 

The vote of the men of the Fourth in the field, for Presi- 
dent, in the national election of November, 1864, was notice- 
able as giving a democratic majority. It stood, for McClellan 
74 ; for Lincoln 64. 

The regiment remained with the Sixth corps in the 
Shenandoah Valley for six weeks after the close of Sheridan's 
victorious campaign, until the 9th of December, when it re- 
turned, with the brigade, to the lines of the Army of the 
Potomac before Petersburg, and went into camp and winter 
quarters near the " Squirrel Level Koad " on the south of the 
city. The men had severe picket service through the winter, 
besides doing a good deal of fatigue duty on the fortifications. 

On the 25th of February 1865, the ten existing compa- 
nies of the regiment were consolidated under the orders of 
the War Department into eight, the men of companies I. and 
K. being distributed among the other companies. The Se- 
cond and Third Vermont companies of Sharp-shooters, num- 

1 The rank and file killed at Cedar Creek were C. Camp, Co. A.; J. Gill, 
Co. C.; N. B. Hudson, Co. D. ; L. Edwards, Co. G.; T. J. Burnham, Co. I.; 
K. Badger, Co. K. 

Those who died of wounds were C. O. Gibson, Co. H.: R F. Rich, 
Co. K. 


bering 166 men, were at the same time transferred to the 
Fourth regiment, increasing its aggregate to 757, of which 
number, however, but 365 were present for duty, the sick 
list comprising 250 men. In March, 40 of the men captured 
in the affair on the Weldon Railroad in June 1864, having 
been exchanged, rejoined the command. 

The Fourth had an honorable share in the important 
and successful assault on the entrenched picket line in front 
of Fort Fisher, March 25th, and in the repulse of the enemy's 
attempt to retake a portion of the line on the 27th. In this 
last skirmish, Lieutenant Charles H. Carlton and five men 
were wounded. Two men of the Fourth were wounded on 
the 25th. 

In the final triumphant assault of April 2d on tho de- 
fences of Petersburg, which resulted in the fall of Richmond, 
the Fourth was commanded by Captain Geo. H. Amidon, 
no field officer being present. 1 The regiment was actively 
engaged and lost one man killed and two officers, Lieute- 
nants "W. H. Humphrey and W. T. Tilson, and nine men 
wounded, one of whom died of his wounds. 2 Fuller details 
of this and the other battles in which the regiment took part, 
will be found in the history of the First brigade, in subse- 
quent chapters of this history. 

The regiment was at Sailor's Creek, with the Sixth 
corps ; guarded army supplies at Farmville, Ya., after the sur- 
render of Lee's army ; marched with the brigade to Danville, 
Ya., and thence May 24th, to the camp at Munson's Hill, near 
"Washington, where it remained till mustered out of service. 
It participated in the review of the First Yermont brigade 
and other Yermont regiments by Governor Smith and Adj't. 

1 Col. Foster was in Vermont on an 18 days' leave of absence. Lieut. 
Colonel Pratt was a paroled prisoner, on leave of absence. The regiment 
had no major, at this time. 

H. G. Fillebrown, Co. C., was killed, and D. Mahoney, Co. A., died 
of his wounds. 


General Washburn, at Bailey's Cross Roads, Va., June 7th, 
and in the review of the Sixth corps by the President of the 
United States, at Washington, June 8th. 

The morning report of the 6th of June, 1865, showed 
an aggregate of 693 men, with a sick list of 230, and 47 men 
still reported as "prisoners," being men of whom the last 
known was that they were in Confederate prisons. The re- 
cruits of the Fourth, 154 in number, whose terms of service 
were to expire previous to October 1, 1865, were mustered 
out of the U. S. Service, June 19, 1865. The remainder 
were mustered out July 13, 1865 ; and all who were able to 
travel departed at once for Vermont, under command of 
General Foster. They arrived, 300 in number, at New York, 
July 14th, and at Burlington, July 16th, where they had a 
cordial reception with an address of welcome by Rev. A. L. 
Cooper of the Pine Street M. E. Church, and a collation 
provided by the ladies of Burlington, in the town hall. 
Flowers and waving handkerchiefs and songs of glad greet- 
ing expressed the cordial welcome accorded to the veterans, 
and General Foster, as he entered the hall with the slio!:-torn 
headquarters flag of the old Vermont brigade, had a special 
greeting of enthusiastic cheers from the assembly. From 
the town hall the regiment marched to its quarters at the 
Marine Hospital, where the men were paid off during the 
week following. 

The field and staff officers returning with the regiment 
were Colonel and Bvt. Brig. General George P. Foster, Lieut. 
Colonel John E. Pratt, Major Charles W. Bontin, Adjutant 
James Gallagher, Quartermaster H. AV. Spafford, Surgeon 
E. M. Curtis, and Chaplain John L. Roberts. Of these, all 
but the chaplain and quartermaster went out with the regi- 
ment in 1 861 the colonel and lieutenant colonel as captains 
of Companies G. and A., and Major Bontin as first lieutenant 
of Company B. Surgeon Curtis went out as hospital steward, 
was appointed assistant surgeon of the Sixth regiment in 


January, 1863, and returned to the Fourth as surgeon in 
October, 1864. Quartermaster Spafford enlisted as a private, 
was appointed commissary sergeant in October, 1864, 
and was promoted quartermaster on the 4th of November 
following. The line officers returning were Captains L. W. 
Fisher, A. K. Nichols, Howard C. Chapin, W. TV. Pierce, 
George H. Amidon, Charles G. Fisher, S. F. Norton and 
TV. TV. Smith ; and Lieutenants B. TV. Chamberlain, George 
P. Spaulding, C. C. Chapin, Charles A. Dam, Charles H. 
Newton, Joseph B. Needham and Curtis Abbott. All of 
these, except Captain Nichols who was appointed early in 
1865, enlisted as privates in the summer and fall of 1861. 
Captains Norton and Smith and Lieutenant Abbott, after 
having served for over three years in the Second U. S. Sharp- 
shooters, were transferred without change of rank to the 
Fourth regiment, in February, 1865. 

The names of 65 men of the Fourth have been hereto- 
fore printed, who died in Confederate prison pens. To them 
are to be added the following : 


W. A. Comar, L. H. Bowles, Co. A., died Aug. 26, '64; Reuben Ladd, 
Co. C., died Dec. 8, '63; W. C. Stevens and O. A. Wilson, Co. F.; J. 
Boyce, Co. I. 


The battles in which the Fourth regiment took part were 
as follows : 


Lee's Mill, April 16, 1862. 

Wiiliamsburg, May 5, 1862. 

Golding's Farm, June 26, 1862. 

Savage's Station, June 29, 1862. 

White Oak Swamp, - - June 30, 1862. 

Crampton's Gap. Sept. 14, 1862. 

Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. 

Fredericksburg, Dec. 13. 1882. 

Marye's Heights, May 3, 1863. 

Salem Heights, May 4, 1863. 

Fredericksburg, - - ' - - - - - - . June 5, 1863. 

Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

Funkstown, July 10. 1863. 

Rappahannock Station, Nov. 7, 1863. 

Wilderness, May 5 to 10, 1864. 

Spottsylvania, May 10 to 18, 1864. 

Cold Harbor, June 1 to 12, 1864. 

Petersburg, June 18, 1864. 

Weldon Railroad, June 23, 1864. 

Charlestown, August 21, 1864. 

Opequan, Sept. 13, 1864. 

Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864. 

Fisher's Hill, Sept. 21 and 22, 1864. 

Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864. 

Petersburg, March 25 and 27, 1865. 

Petersburg, ......... April 2, 1865. 


The final statement of the Fourth regiment is as follows : 


Original members com. officers 38 ; enlisted men 1010, total, 1048 

Gain recruits 602, transfers from other regiments 203, total, 805 

Aggregate, 1853 


Killed in action com. officers 8; enlisted men 66, total, 74 

Died of wounds com. officers 4; enlisted men 83, total, 87 

Died of disease enlisted men, 195 

Died (unwounded) in Confederate prisons, enlisted men, 71 

Died from accidents, enlisted men, 2 

Total of deaths, 429 

Promoted to other regiments officers 6 ; enlisted men 8, total, 14 

Transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps, Navy, Regular Army, etc., 93 

Honorably discharged com. officers resigned 22 , for wounds and 
disability 7; enlisted men, for wounds 69; for disability 373, 

total, 471 

Dishonorably discharged com. officers 1 ; enlisted men 5, 6 

Total discharged, 477 

Deserted 118 ; unaccounted for 5, 123 

Mustered out com. officers 39 ; enlisted men 678, total 717 

Aggregate, 1853 

Total wounded, 414 

Total re-enlisted... 210 



Composition of the Regiment Rendezvous at St. Albans Field and Staff 
Departure for Washington March to Chain Bridge Sickness at 
Camp Griffin The Spring Campaign of '62 Lee's Mill Golding's 
Farm Hard Fighting and Terrible Loss at Savage's Station Resigna- 
tion of Colonel Smalley and Changes of field Officers The Maryland 
Campaign Back to Virginia First Fredericksburg Marye's Height 
and Banks's Ford Crossing the Rappahannock and Capturing Missis- 
sippians Gettysburg and Funkstown Rappahannock Station Re- 
enlisting for the War Furlough and Visit to Vermont Return to 
Virginia Losses in the Wilderness and in the Lines of Spottsylvania 
Death and Sketch of Major Dudley Cold Harbor, Petersburg and 
Charlestown Expiration of Three Years' Term The Shenandoah 
Campaign Final Assault at Petersburg End of the War and Return 

The Fifth regiment, like the Fourth, was raised in obe- 
dience to Governor Fairbanks's proclamation of July 21st, 
1861. It was composed of companies recruited in the towns 
of Hyde Park, Manchester, Cornwall, Eutland, St. Albans, 
Brandon, Middlebury, Swanton, Kichmond and Burlington, 
and towns adjoining those. So fully had the citizens re- 
sponded to the Governor's appeal that in six weeks two hun- 
dred and fifty more men had enlisted than were needed to 
fill the two regiments. The Fifth was ordered to rendez- 
vous at St. Albans, and by the llth of September, the com- 
panies began to arrive there. The 14th of September saw 
the whole regiment in camp a mile north of the village on 
land belonging to Henry Seymour, Esq. The camp was 


named Camp Holbrook in honor of the newly elected Gover- 
nor. The regiment was mustered in on the 16th and 17th 
of September, by Lieutenant Geo. H. Higbee, of the llth U. 
S. Infantry, with 1006 officers and men. Thirty recruits were 
added in the two weeks following. A regimental band of 
twenty pieces, under the leadership of J. Bice, of Montpelier, 
was mustered with the regiment. 

Governor Fairbanks considered himself fortunate in 
securing for colonel of the Fifth, an officer of the regular 
army, in the person of Lieutenant Henry A. Smalley, Second 
U. S. Artillery. Lieutenant Smalley was a native of Bur- 
lington, the eldest son of U. S. Judge David A. Smalley, 
and was now in his twenty-eighth year. He graduated from 
the United States Military Academy in 1854, was brevetted 
as second lieutenant of the First Artillery ; and on the 25th 
of April 1861, was appointed first lieutenant in the Second 
Artillery. He was detailed from his regiment at this time 
as aid-de-camp on the staff of General Dix, at Baltimore, 
and had been recommended for the command of a regiment 
by General Scott. His commission as colonel of the Fifth 
Yermont bore date of July 30th, 1861, ante-dating his ap- 
pointment by several weeks. He was mustered in and 
assumed command of the regiment on the 15th of September. 
Captain Nathan Lord, Jr., youngest son of President Lord 
of Dartmouth College, who had seen some service under 
General McClellan in West Yirginia, was appointed lieu- 
tenant colonel, but had hardly accepted the position when 
he was taken from it to command the Sixth regiment, then 
about to be organized. Lewis A. Grant, Esq., of Eocking- 
ham, who had been selected for major, was thereupon ap- 
pointed lieutenant colonel, and Kedfield Proctor, recently the 
quartermaster of the Third regiment, was appointed major. 
The regimental staff was as follows : Adjutant Edward M. 
Brown, of Montpelier ; Quartermaster Aldis O. Brainerd, of 
St. Albans; Surgeon Wm. P. Ptussell, of Middlebury; As- 


sistant Surgeon Henry C. Shaw, of Waitsfield ; Chaplain, 
Rev. Volney M. Simons, a Methodist clergyman of Swanton. 

Of the line officers, a number had seen service in the 
First regiment, six of the captains, Captains Chandler, Cook, 
Sheridan, Lewis, Seagar and Dudley, and several lieutenants, 
having been members of that regiment. 

On the 17th of September, under urgent directions from 
the Secretary of War to forward all available troops at once, 
with assurances that any deficiencies in arms and equip- 
ments would be supplied at Washington, Governor Fair- 
banks ordered the regiment to move to Washington at once ; 
but upon the earnest representation of its officers that the 
regiment was in no condition to take the field, he changed 
his order to one to move as soon as possible, leaving the 
precise time subject to Colonel Smalley's discretion. On the 
18th and 19th of September, the regiment was armed with 
the guns brought home by the First regiment, as far as they 
would go the armament being completed by a supply of 
250 Enfield rifles, after the arrival of the regiment at Wash- 
ington. On the 20th and 21st the uniforms blouses and 
pants, of army blue were distributed, 1 and Monday morn- 
ing, September 23d, the regiment started for Washington. 
Before leaving, a paper signed by the Colonel and most of 
the officers, was addressed to Governor Fairbanks, express- 
ing appreciation of his untiring efforts to forward the de- 
parture of the command, and regret that " circumstances had 
been such as to imperatively forbid an earlier departure." 

The regiment went by rail, over the Yermont Central 
Railroad, filling two trains. It arrived at New Haven, Conn., 
Tuesday morning ; embarked at once on the Sound steamer 
" Elm City," reached Jersey City at noon, and thence pro- 
ceeded by rail to Washington, arriving there on the evening 
of September 25th. 

1 Coats and overcoats were supplied later at Washington. 


The weather was fine throughout the whole trip, and all 
the way to Baltimore the regiment met an enthusiastic recep- 
tion. Kefreshments were sent on board the trains at Bellows 
Falls, by the citizens of that village ; at Jersey City the 
people turned out in thousands to greet the troops ; and a 
hearty meal was furnished at Philadelphia by the citizens of 
that patriotic city, who allowed no regiment to leave their 
city hungry. On its arrival at Washington, the regiment was 
quartered for the night in the large building known as the 
" Soldier's Best," where, however, the only inducements to 
rest were close quarters, bare planks, and the fatigue of 
the long journey. The next day the regiment marched out 
to Camp Casey, on Capitol Hill, then covered with the tents 
of the army as far as the eye could reach. On the 27th the 
regiment had a tedious march of seven hours in a driving 
rain, to Chain Bridge. The distance was only eight miles ; 
but the guide, becoming confused in the darkness, led the 
regiment out of its way, and it was after ten o'clock at 
night when the men lay down to rest on the wet ground with- 
out supper or shelter. The regiment went into camp the 
next day at Camp Advance, on the Virginia side of the river, 
close by the camps of the Second and Third regiments. 
Here it remained ten days, devoted chiefly to drill and fell- 
ing of the woods near the camps. On the 9th of October, 
the Fifth moved out to Smoot's Hill, so called from its former 
secessionist owner ; and went into camp at " Camp Griffin," 
surrounded by the camps of the Second, Third and Fourth 
regiments, and with the camps of nearly the whole of General 
Smith's division, of some twenty thousand men, in sight from 
the top of the hill. 

Not a little impatience and anxiety prevailed at this time 
in the regiment over the delay in the clothing and equipment. 
Three companies were as yet without muskets, and all without 
overcoats. The weather, fortunately, was not severe; and 
during the last half of October, coats, overcoats and under- 


clothing were received and distributed, and the deficiency in 
arms supplied. During the fine October weather, the men 
were exercised in frequent drills and, largely by the efforts of 
Lieut. Colonel Grant, Colonel Smalley being indisposed and 
absent most of the fall, the regiment was brought into an ex- 
cellent condition of drill and discipline. 

With November came cold nights and frequent rains 
which soon affected the health of the command. On the 
10th of November, the morning report showed 250 men, or 
nearly a third of the regiment, excused from duty on account 
of sickness, seventy of them being in hospital with typhoid 
and other fevers, and measles. Several deaths occurred. 
The hospital tents were overcrowded with patients, and the 
sicker men were removed to a deserted mansion, two miles 
from camp. The picket duty was lessened ; and untiring 
efforts and care were exercised by the surgeons and officers 
to promote the health of the men ; but the illness and mor- 
tality continued to be alarming. Up to the 23d of November 
the deaths numbered seventeen. On the 2d of January, Dr. 
E. E. Phelps of Windsor, who had been sent from Vermont 
by Governor Holbrook to investigate the condition of the 
Vermont troops, reported a larger number of sick in the Fifth 
and Sixth regiments than in the other regiments of the 
brigade, from 220 to 250 in each being excused from duty, 
and over 60 of the Fifth being in hospital. 

From that time on, however, the health of the men 
gradually improved, and though there were occasional relaps- 
es, in times of exceptionally bad weather, the remainder of 
the winter was passed in comparative health and comfort, 
and with no harder service than occasional picket duty. 

Colonel Smalley rejoined the command in improved 
health, during the latter part of January. On the 22d of 
February, after listening, with the rest of the brigade, stand- 
ing in the mud, to the reading of Washington's Farewell 
Address, the regiment further celebrated the birthday of the 


Father of his Country by foot and sack races, scrambling for 
a greased pig, and a rousing game of foot ball. 

On the 10th of March the Fifth left Camp Griffin with 
the Vermont brigade, moving with it to Flint Hill, Cloud's 
Mills and Alexandria, where it spent the night of March 
15th in the market house, and was quartered the next day in 
a church. Thence it went to Fortress Monroe by transports, 
and marched up the Peninsula with the army. At Young's 
Mills, where the first hostile fortifications were struck, the 
Fifth charged a stockaded work, which, however, proved to 
have been abandoned by the enemy. Here a shot fired by a 
rebel cavalry picket, retiring before the advance of the regi- 
ment, took effect in the shoulder of private Peter Brady of 
Company G. the first man of the Fifth hurt by a hostile 

In the action at Lee's Mill, six companies of the Fifth, 
under Colonel Smalley, the other four being out on picket, 
were stationed in the rear of the batteries in the woods. 
During the forenoon 60 men, 10 from each company, under 
command of Captain Dudley, assisted by Lieutenant William 
P. Spaulding of Company I., were taken to act as sharp- 
shooters, to silence the "one gun battery" which commanded 
the causeway across the creek. They went down under a 
sharp fire of shell and canister, to the edge of the river 
below the dam, where they took position, and by picking off 
the enemy's cannoneers kept the gun silent for hours. About 
four o'clock, having exhausted their ammunition, the detach- 
ment was relieved by an equal number selected in like man- 
ner. In the performance of this service privates James W. 
Russell of Company K. and William Henry of Company C. 
were killed the first men of the regiment killed in action 
and seven were wounded, four of them severely. In the final 
assault on the enemy's works the Fifth moved to the support 
of the Sixth ; but did not become engaged, and at ten o'clock 


in the evening was withdrawn to its camp. 1 Lieutenant 
Colonel L. A. Grant was brigade field officer of the day, and 
as such had general supervision of the skirmish line of the 
brigade till the close of the fighting. 

"When the enemy evacuated the line of Warwick Creek, 
the Fifth was the first regiment of General Smith's division 
sent across the creek to occupy the abandoned works. 

The return of the regiment to the adjutant general, 
April 30th, 1862, showed an aggregate of 830 officers and 
men, of whom 729 were reported present for duty. Of the 
remainder, 96 were sick and five disabled by wounds. 

The Fifth was at Williamsburg with the brigade May 
5th. The regiment had its share of the fatigue and exposure 
of the march up the Peninsula. Colonel Smalley and Lieut. 
Colonel Grant were both disabled by illness during the last 
half of May, and the regiment was for several weeks ably 
commanded by Lieut. Colonel Yeazey of the Third. Quarter- 
master Brainerd was compelled to resign in May on account 
of ill health, and was succeeded by Lieutenant Adoniram 
Austin of Company K. who had been for some months ac- 
ting as assistant quartermaster. On the 24th of May, Rev. 
Charles S. Hale of Brandon, a young Episcopal clergyman, 
was appointed chaplain, in place of Chaplain Simons who had 
resigned in March, having been selected for the office by 

'The staff and line officers of the regiment in March, 1862, procured 
and tendered to Colonel Smalley, as a token of their regard, a handsome 
sabre, belt and sash. He declined to receive it at that time, saying: 
"After any action with the enemy in which we may be engaged, should 
you then preserve the same high opinion of me you now entertain, I shall 
be proud and happy to accept any evidence of it." After the action at 
Lee's Mill, the tender of the testimonial was renewed by the committee of 
the officers having it In charge, and it was accepted by Colonel Smalley. In 
his reply to a highly complimentary letter of presentation, he said: " I feel 
that I may now accept the very handsome present which you have brought. 
Our regiment has been twice face to face with the enemy, and officers and 
men have more than justified my hopes. That I have in the open field 
added to your confidence is gratifying." 


formal vote of the line officers. On the 30th of May the re- 
giment was sent out from its camp near the new bridge on 
the Chickahominy river for four or five miles up the river 
to Mechanicsville, as guard to a party of engineers. They 
were shelled for two hours by a rebel battery, but only one 
man was wounded, 1 and that slightly. Colonel Yeazey had 
a narrow escape, his cap being struck from his head by a 
piece of a shell. The regiment marched back to camp in a 
fearful thunder storm ; and the experience was quite an exci- 
ting one. 

The Fifth was in camp near Gaines's Mill and Cold 
Harbor on the left bank of the Chickahominy, while the 
battle of Fair Oaks w r as fought, four miles away across the 
river, on the 31st of May and 1st of June. 

On the 5th of June the regiment crossed the Chicka- 
hominy with the brigade, and camped in a pleasant spot on 
the right bank, near the river. The Fifth was in camp 
with the brigade at Golding's farm, when the seven days of 
fighting and retreat commenced. On the 27th it was one 
of the regiments brought up to support Hancock's brigade 
during the assault on the line of the division at Golding's 
farm ; but only two companies, I. and C., became engaged. 
The regiment lay on its arms all that night, two companies 
being thrown out into the swamp on picket. The next day it 
was under sharp artillery fire and lost one man killed. 2 

At Savage's Station, June 29th, the regiment rendered 
important and memorable service, elsewhere more fully 
described, and in the course of half an hour suffered the 
greatest loss of men killed and wounded ever endured by any 
Vermont regiment in a single action. The regiment was com- 
manded by Lieut. Colonel Grant, who was the only field 
officer present, Colonel Smalley being absent and Major 

1 Orderly Sergeant O. B. Reynolds of Co. B. 

2 Andrew Laffie, Co. H. 


Proctor seriously ill and absent on sick leave. The regiment 
took into the battle not over 400 muskets, and lost 45 offi- 
cers and men killed and 143 wounded, of whom 27 died of 
their wounds. Company E. lost no less than 44 men, 25 of 
whom were killed or mortally wounded, out of 59 in line 
the most remarkable proportion of killed to wounded recorded 
in this history and Company H. lost 36 killed and wounded. 
Among the killed were Second Lieutenants Olney A. Corn- 
stock of Company B., and Samuel Sumner, Jr. of Company 
D. 1 Among the wounded were Captains C. TV. Eose, Com- 
pany B.; B. E. Jenne, Company G.; C. TV. Seagar, Company 
H. and E. C. Benton, Company D.; and Lieutenants Louis 
McD. Smith, Company A.; Wilson D. "Wright, Company B.; 
W. H. H. Peck, Company E.; and B. M. Barber, Company K. 
Captain Jenne was shot in the hand and groin, and taken 
prisoner. Lieutenants Smith, Wright and Barber, having 
serious buck shot wounds in the legs, also fell into the ene- 
my's hands. They were taken first to a blacksmith's shop 
near the field, which was filled with Federal wounded, and 

1 Lieut. Comstock enlisted from Middlebury. He was an unusually 
athletic man, a vigorous wrestler, and a stout and brave soldier. He fell 
in the courageous and active discharge of his duty. 

Lieut. Sumner had been a school teacher in the South for some time 
previous to the war, and on the outbreak of hostilities came home 1o enlist 
in the Union army. He enlisted from Troy, Vt., in August, 1861, at the 
age of 21, and was chosen second lieutenant at the organization of the 
company. One who knew him in the army, says : " He was as brave as a 
man could possibly be." 

The killed of the rank and file were as follows : 

Company B. E. Dorsey, L. S. Evarts. 

Company C. B. Finnegan, J. Fiske, C. Lozmen, M. Mills. 

Company D. H. A. Davis. J. T. Davis, J. Estus, I. S. Gray, A. P. 

Company E. O. J. Barton, W. K. Bennett, J. Bolster, N. Burnham, 
L. Campeau, H. C. Clayton, S. A. Cummings, E. J. Fisher, G. Fleming, 
J. Lassard, D. F. Mattison, C. H. Rideout, T. M. Waite, A. Waters, 
W. Whitman, H. E. Wiley. 16. 

Company F. H. H. Wilder, T. D. Peck 


thence to McClellan's great field hospital, which had been 
left by him intact and was taken possession of by the 
enemy. When able to travel they were removed to Richmond. 
Lieutenant Wright was honorably discharged on account 
of disability from his wounds, in August 1862. Lieutenant 
Smith was paroled July 21st, and mustered out in December 
following. He returned to the service in March 1863, as 
captain of Company E. 

Lieutenant Peck was struck in the face by a musket 
ball which, entering below the cheek bone, glanced down- 
ward, passed under his chin, beneath the skin, across his 
neck, and up and out at the other side of his face. Though 
nearly crazed by the pain, he made out to stagger along with 
the column, on the retreat to Harrison's Landing, whence he 
was removed to the IT. S. Naval Hospital at Annapolis. He 
suffered from the effects of his wound for a year, and was 
then transferred to the Invalid Corps. 

Lieutenant Barber was dangerously wounded in the hip ; 
was taken to Richmond, where he suffered greatly from neg- 

Company G P. H. Bowline, H. Lewis, A. H. Mitchell, J. Q. A. 

Company H. H. Hooker, J. J. Huit, V. D. Sails. 

Company I. H. C. Allen, J. Bodfish, J. W. Monroe, H. W. Rowe, 
8. E. Spauldiug, M. B. Warner. 

Company K. T Kennedy, D. Wells. Total, 45. 

Those who died of their wounds were : 

Company B. L. W. Merrill, M. M. Reynolds. 

Company C. E. Banyea, J. Catury, W. L. Micha. 

Company D. B. Draper, E. H. Marcy. 

Company E. A. A. Barker, W. G. Brown, E. M. Cummings, H. P. 
Cummings, W. Cummings, W. H. H. Cummings, F. D. Goldthwaite, H. J. 
Heald, J. Meerworth. 9. 

Company G. T. W. Taylor. 

Company H. J. Maguire, P. Maloney, F. Merchant, M. Mulcahy, 
E. H. Smith, E. P. West. 

Company K. W. Church, D. Story, J. P. Ware. Total, 27. 

It was a very common statement, during the war and after, that Co. E. 
of the Fifth had 33 men killed and mortally wounded at Savage's Station. 
The nominal list, however, does not bear out the statement. 


lect on the part of the Confederate surgeons, was soon 
paroled and taken to Fortress Monroe, where he died from 
his wound, July 20th, on board the transport Louisiana. He 
was a capable officer, though less than 21 years of age, and 
was sincerely mourned in the command. 

Seventy-five wounded men of the Fifth were left on the 
field and, with three sick men left in hospital at Savage's 
Station, fell into the hands of the enemy. Surgeon Kussell, 
with three nurses of the hospital staff, remained with them, 
and rendered them all possible care till they were released 
by death or were paroled a few weeks later. 

The regiment what was left of it remained with the 
^brigade at Harrison's Landing after the change of base of the 
army, from the 2d of July till the 16th of August. Its number 
of effective men was greatly reduced, not only by death and 
wounds, but by sickness consequent upon the fatigues and 
exposures of the retreat ; and on the 13th of July the regiment 
Jiad only thirteen officers and 371 men fit for duty. 1 

Major Proctor resigned July llth on account of contin- 
ued sickness, and Captain John K. Lewis of Co. I. was ap- 
pointed major in his place a fit recognition of his gallant 
and efficient service. 

During the last week in August, Ass't Surgeon Shaw, 
who had been untiring in his devotion to the sick and 
wounded, yielded, like many others, to the malaria of the 
Yirginia swamps, and after an illness of two weeks died 
September 7th, of typhoid fever in the hospital at Alex- 
andria. He was educated at Dartmouth College and ranked 
high in his profession ; and his loss was severely felt in the 
regiment. His remains were removed to his home in Waits- 
field for interment. Dr. Arthur F. Burdick of Underhill was 

1 One field officer, 3 regimental staff, 1 Captain, 4 First Lieutenants, 4 

Second Lieutenants; 16 musicians; 6 wagoners, 349 non-commissioned 

officers and privates. Statement by Sergeant L. Bigelow, in Burlington 
Times, July 19, 1862, 


appointed assistant surgeon in his place, and a second assist- 
ant surgeon was appointed at the same time, in the person 
of Dr. Alwyn H. Chesmore of Huntington. 

On the 16th of August the regiment started with the 
brigade on the march down the Peninsula, and participated 
in the movements of the Army of the Potomac in Virginia 
and Maryland during the next month. Some of the march- 
ing was severe, and 24 men of the Fifth were taken to Har- 
wood Hospital at "Washington, sick from exhaustion, when 
the regiment passed through that city on the way to Mary- 

On the 10th of September, Colonel Smalley retired from 
the colonelcy, his leave of absence from the regular army 
being revoked, and Lieut. Colonel Grant, who had com- 
manded the regiment through much of its service, succeeded 
to the colonelcy. Major Lewis was thereupon promoted to 
the lieutenant colonelcy, and Captain Charles P. Dudley of 
Company E., was appointed major. 

The Fifth participated in the storming of Crampton's 
Gap, September 14th, and stood on the field of Antietam, 
though without serious loss, having two men wounded by 
shells. After the Antietam campaign the regiment went into 
camp on the 26th of September, with the brigade, at Hagers- 
town, Md., where the troops were allowed a month of much 
needed rest, and where the Fifth received 90 recruits. 

Surgeon Eussell was honorably discharged in October, 
on account of ill health, and in December following, Dr. P. 
D. Bradford, a well known physician of Northfield, was ap- 
pointed surgeon. 

On the llth of October, the Fifth was sent with the 
Second Vermont, by rail, to Chambersburg, Pa., to check 
Stuart's cavalry raid, returning to Hagerstown on the 16th. 
In the first half of November it marched with the brigade 
down to the lower Potomac, and on the 1st of December 
was stationed near Stafford Court House, Va., on Acquia 


Creek, a few miles from the rest of the brigade, to guard the 
roads above Acquia. 

In the first battle of Fredericksburg, December llth to 
14th, the Fifth was under fire to a greater or less extent for 
four days. On the 14th it was on the skirmish line, and lost 
one man killed l and 13 wounded. Among the injured were 
Colonel Grant, who received a sharp blow on the leg from a 
spent bullet, and Lieutenant Warren R. Dunton of Company 
D., who received a serious wound in the foot, which occa- 
sioned his honorable discharge three months after. 

On the 1st of January, 1863, the regiment was at Fal- 
mouth, Ya., the rest of the brigade being at Belle Plain. 
The morning report for that day gave an aggregate of 694, 
with 457 present for duty, and 224 on the sick list. This 
aggregate was diminished by 100, by discharges and transfers 
to the invalid corps during the first three months of the 

The resignation, in February, 1863, of Colonel Whiting 
of the Second regiment, who had been in command of the 
brigade since October previous, left Colonel Grant the rank- 
ing colonel and he accordingly succeeded to the command of 
the First brigade, which he held thereafter through the war. 
He had been a careful and efficient colonel, and the regiment 
was sorry to lose him. On his part he was proud of the 
regiment, and he never lost his interest in the Fifth. Upon 
Grant's promotion, Lieut. Colonel Lewis succeeded to the 
command of the regiment, and brought to the position every 
quality of a capable and popular commander. 

In the Second Fredericksburg, the Fifth took an honor- 
able part. At the storming of Marye's Heights on the 3d 
of May, it was kept back by General Howe's order to sup- 
port a battery, but subsequently advanced to the top of the 
Heights without loss. The next day, in the battle on Salem 
Heights, back of Fredericksburg, the Fifth was on the ex- 

J James O. Gilbert, of Co. I. 


treme right of the brigade, and was the first to receive 
Early's main attack on Howe's division of the Sixth corps. 
The regiment, under Lieut. Colonel Lewis, rendered gallant 
and efficient service in the repulse of the enemy during the 
afternoon of the 4th, as well as in the sharp fighting at Banks's 
Ford, later in the day, which will be found elsewhere de- 
scribed more in detail. The loss of the regiment was three 
killed, 11 wounded, of whom one died, and nine taken pris- 
oners on the skirmish line. 1 Among the wounded was Second 
Lieutenant Lyman F. Loomis of Company G. Lieut. Colonel 
Lewis, and Lieutenant C. H. Forbes, acting assistant adjutant 
general on Colonel Grant's staff, are mentioned in his report 
as worthy of the highest praise, as is also Lieutenant A. 
Austin, acting quartermaster of the brigade. 

On the 5th of June, the Fifth was again sent across the 
Eappahannock below Fredericksburg. It crossed in pontoon 
boats under heavy fire, attacked the enemy's pickets in the 
rifle pits on the opposite bank, capturing most of them, and 
drove the remainder across the plain to the woods, thus clear- 
ing the way, with the support of other regiments of the 
brigade, for the crossing of Howe's division, which went 
over to feel of the enemy and ascertain if Hill's corps had left 
its position south of the Eappahannock. Seven men of the 
Fifth were wounded in the affair, and the Fifth sent in 90 
prisoners six officers and 84 men including an entire com- 
pany of the Eighteenth Mississippi which came into the lines 
of the Fifth after dark. On the evening of ihe 7th the regi- 
ment marched back with the brigade to the north side of 
the river, and a week later started with the corps on the hard 
northern march which ended at Gettysburg. 

The only man of the First brigade killed at Gettysburg 
was a man of the Fifth regiment Luther Hurlburt of Com- 

1 W. H. Button, Co. A. ; C. Montgomery, Co. B., and M. Keirigan, Co. 
I. , were killed ; and P. King, Co. B. , died of his wounds. 



pany D. reported at the time as having deserted, but sub- 
sequently found to have been killed on the 3d of July. The 
regiment was not actively engaged on that field. 

At Funkstown, Md., on the 10th of July, the regiment, 
under Lieut. Colonel Lewis, held the left of the skirmish 
line and repulsed repeated attacks of the Confederate lines 
with a loss of three men killed 1 and seven wounded. 

After the return to Virginia, the regiment was for three 
weeks in a pleasant camp near Warrenton, Va., doing picket 
duty for the division, till ordered with the brigade to New 
York city on the llth of August. It was sent thence, with 
the Sixth Yermont, to Kingston, N. Y., where a draft was in 
progress. Its service there was pleasant, and the episode of 
maintaining the authority of the government at the North, 
amounted to an agreeable vacation of three weeks. 

The regiment was next under fire on the 7th of No- 
vrember, when the Fifth and Sixth corps assaulted and earned 
the enemy's entrenchments at Eappahannock Station. The 
regiment was deployed on the skirmish line near the river, 
and had two or three men wounded by artillery fire ; but was 
not actively engaged. 

In General Meade's next unsuccessful attempt to force 
General Lee's lines south of the Rapidan, in the last week 
in November, the Fifth had its share of marching, severe 
picket service and suffering from cold and hunger. Active 
campaigning being for the most part brought to a close by 
the advent of winter, the regiment went into winter quarters 
with the brigade near Brandy Station, Va. 

The Fifth was the first of the Vermont regiments, and 
one of the first if not the first of the New England regiments, 
to re-enlist for the war, under the provisions of the order 
of the war department which offered a special bounty to 
every three years' man re-enlisting for the war and permit- 

1 N. S. Cross, Co. A.; J. W. Leonard, F. Murray, Co. E. 


ted regiments three-fourths of whose members should so 
re-enlist to retain their regimental organizations and to add 
the title of " Veteran Volunteers " to their regimental name ; 
also granting to every such regiment a furlough of thirty 
days. Two hundred and fifty-five officers and men of the 
Fifth, having re-enlisted on the 15th of December, left Brandy 
Station on the morning of December 27th for Vermont, and 
arrived at Burlington on the 30th. Governor Smith, Adj't. 
General Washburn and Surgeon General Thayer, with the 
Third Vermont Battery, Captain Start, then in camp at Bur- 
lington, and a numerous concourse of citizens, met the 
veterans on their arrival and escorted them to the city hall, 
where Hon.- George F. Edmunds, in behalf of the citizens 
of Burlington, and General Washburn, on the part of the 
State, bade them welcome back to Vermont. After a brief 
response from Lieut. Colonel Lewis, a dinner, provided by 
the citizens of Burlington, was served in the town hall, and 
in the afternoon and evening of the same day the veterans 
dispersed to their homes to spend the new year anniversary 
in comfort and happiness by their own firesides. 

On the expiration of its furlough the regiment rendez- 
voused at Burlington on the 4th of February, 1864, and went 
into camp in comfortable quarters on the fair ground north 
of the city. On the 6th it was reviewed by Governor Smith, 
accompanied by Adj't. General Washburn and Q. M. General 
Davis, and received a handsome new stand of colors from 
the hands of the governor, who in appropriate remarks ex- 
pressed the pride of the State in the record of the regiment, 
and the thanks of the people for its services. Lieut. Colonel 
Lewis responded briefly, pledging anew the loyalty of the 
regiment to the cause of the Union and faithful regard for 
the honor of Vermont. 

On Monday morning, February 8th, the Fifth Vermont 
regiment veteran volunteers, left the snow-covered hills of 
Vermont to rejoin their comrades at the front. Their return 


and an addition of about 40 new recruits, gave on the 29th 
of February an aggregate of 650, of whom 562 were reported 
on duty. The regiment remained in camp at Brandy Station 
with the Vermont brigade through the remainder of the 
winter until it crossed the Eapidan on the 4th of May to 
take its part in the terrible campaign of the Wilderness. 

The part taken by the regiment in this campaign will 
appear more fully in connection with the history of the 
brigade. In proportion to its numbers it was the smallest 
regiment in the brigade no regiment in the brigade accom- 
plished more or suffered more. It went into the first day's 
fight of the "Wilderness with about 500 muskets, and its losses 
in killed, wounded, and missing, most of the latter being 
either killed or desperately wounded, during the month fol- 
lowing, aggregated 349, being two men killed or wounded out 
of every three in the ranks. The losses of officers in the 
same period were also fearful, the list of killed and wounded 
comprising both of the field officers, seven of the ten com- 
pany commanders, four lieutenants and the sergeant major. 
Lieut. Colonel John R. Lewis fell early in the first day's 
fight, May 5th, with his left arm shattered by a musket ball, 
which entered just below the shoulder. In the evening of 
the same day he underwent the operation of exsection of the 
humerus in the division hospital on the field. The next 
day he was taken to Fredericksburg, the journey occupying 
three days and three nights, forty-six hours of terrible suf- 
fering being spent by him in the ambulance on the road. At 
Fredericksburg he was joined by his devoted wife, under 
whose care he steadily progressed towards convalescence. 
Four months later, his wound being not yet healed, he 
received an honorable discharge, to accept an appointment 
as colonel in the Veteran Reserve Corps. Though the rule of 
the war department forbade the muster in of a colonel for a 
regiment having less than 500 men, the rule was waived by 
the Secretary of War in the case of Lieut. Colonel Lewis, 


in consideration of his gallantry, and lie was mustered as 
colonel of the Fifth Vermont on the 5th of June, his appoint- 
ment by the governor dating from the 6th of May, and he 
was subsequently brevetted brigadier general for " gallant 
service in the battle of the Wilderness." 

The loss of the regiment in the Wilderness, May 6th, 
was 34 killed ; 179 wounded, of whom 23 died of their wounds, 
and 31 missing. 1 

Among the killed were Captain George D. Davenport 
of Company B., Captain Charles J. Ormsbee of Company D., 
and Lieutenant Watson O. Beach of Company F. Captain 
Alonzo R. Hurlbut of Company A. was wounded in the left 
ankle, suffered amputation of the leg, and died the 9th of 
June in Armory Square Hospital, Washington; and Lieu- 
tenant Orvis H. Sweet of Company A., was shot through 
the lungs and died May 17th. 

Among the wounded were: Captain F. H. Barney of 

1 The rank and file killed in the Wilderness were as follows : 

Company A. J. Fenix, L. Gilder, L. Gommon, J. Hamel, J. E. Puffer, 
E. Reynolds, J. M. Thomas, D. Traxian, N. Troyon. 9 

Company B. F. Daniels, S. J. Hawley, P. Lander, J. St. Marie. 

Company C. A. Mason. 

Company D.J. Brown, E. E. Houston, J. LaFleur, Jr., E. LeBru, 
S. S. Marshall, G. H. Porter. 6. 

Company E. J. O. Benson, D. F. Kidder, G. H. Lyon, H. Smith, 
C. H. Walker. 

Company F. J. Gillespie, C. Grimes, R. Hudson, T. J. Lane. 

Company I. G. Collins, W. H. Isham. Total, 31. 

Those who died of wounds were : 

Company A. A. M. Alexander, R. Robinson. 

Company B. R. L. Barnes, H. Bowers, R. L. Downer, A. Sorrell, 
H. Sayles. 

Company C. M. Raymond. Jr, 

Company E. H. G. Taft. 

Company G. H. Moren. 

Company H. E. Keenan. 

Company L G. P. Bixby, R. Cornish, W. W. Douglass, J. R. Martin, 
J. F. Preston. 

Company K. B. Haskins, B. B. Hatch, E. W. Hill, J. Lyons, A. Plant. 
Total, 21. 


Company C.; Captain William B. Robinson of Company H.,, 
who was honorably discharged the August following for his 
wounds; Lieutenant Miner E. Fish of Company D.; Lieu- 
tenant W. G. Davenport of Company H.; and Lieutenant 
L. G. Brownson of Company K. 

Honorable mention is made in General L. A. Grant's 
report of Sergeant Isaac M. Burton, Company E., for seizing 
and safely carrying the colors of the regiment, after they had 
been shot from the hands of the color bearer. 

In the battles at Spottsylvania, May 10th to 21st, the 
Fifth lost 15 killed ; 50 wounded, of whom 12 died of their 
wounds ; and 20 missing a total of 85. 1 

A portion of these casualties occurred in Upton's mag- 
nificent charge on the enemy's salient, on the 10th of May ;. 
and most serious among them was the fatal wounding of the 
only remaining field officer of the regiment, the gallant 
Major Dudley, who had succeeded to the command of the 
Fifth upon the fall of Lieut. Colonel Lewis. Though he was. 
ill with a fever when the regiment was ordered forward as 
one of the twelve picked regiments selected for Upton's 
assault, he promptly placed himself at its head, and while 

1 The killed at Spottsylvania were : 
Company C. M. M. Lafayette, L. Martin. 
Company D. A. Schoolcraft. 
Company E. F. De Hosiers, L. Morse. 

Company F. R. W. Champlin, C. M. Crane, J. Duquette, C. P. Good- 
rich, J. Hale, C. A. Walker, R. Wright. 
Company I. B. F. Isham. 
Company K. E. Chamberlin, R. M. Rogers. Total, 15. 

Those who died of their wounds were : 

Company A. H. C. Bailey, H. H. Clement. 

Company B. E. W. Sager. 

Company C. J. H. Sturtevant. 

Company D. H. D. Hagar, J. Houston, Jr. 

Company E. N. C. Bostwick. 

Company F. S. Jenney. 

Company G. R. J. Fletcher, J. Hunter. 

Company K. A. J. Lessor. Total, 11. 


cheering on his men, received a musket ball through his 
uplifted right arm. No bone was broken, and the wound was 
no more severe than thousands from which men speedily 
recovered. But with his nervous temperament and with 
vital powers depressed by disease, it proved a mortal injury. 
He never rallied from the shock, and died in the arms of his 
young wife, who arrived at Fredericksburg, whither he was 
carried, but a few hours before his death. He was one of 
the bravest of Yermont's brave ; had notably distinguished 
himself on several occasions and especially at Banks's Ford r 
and at the crossing of the Eappahannock, June 5th, 1863 ; 
and few deaths in the whole course of the war occasioned 
deeper sorrow among the Yermont troops. 1 

After Major Dudley fell, the regiment was commanded 
by Captain E. A. Hamilton of Company F., who had dis- 
tinguished himself at Spottsylvania, and received mention 
for good conduct in the brigade commander's report. Quar- 
termaster Eells is also mentioned as one of those who ren- 
dered special service on the staff of the general, after the 
brigade staff officers had been wounded or captured. 

The Fifth regiment was in the front line at Cold Harbor 
on the 3d of June, and suffered severely, losing eight killed 

1 Charles P. Dudley was born in Manchester, Vt., January 24, 1836. He 
spent his early manhood in his trade as a marble cutter, and in teaching in 
Vermont and in Kentucky, where his outspoken expression of his opinions 
on the great issues which divided the sections before the war, placed his 
life repeatedly in danger. He was studying law in the office of an uncle, 
in Johnstown, N. Y. , when the war broke out. The firt train leaving that 
town after President's Lincoln's first call for troops took him to Vermont, 
to join his brother Vermonters in sustaining the flag. He at once enlisted 
at Rutland, in Co. K. of the First regiment. A commission in the regular 
army was tendered to him about this time ; but he declined it, preferring to 
serve with the troops of his native State, though as a private in the ranks. 
On the expiration of the three months term of the First regiment he re- 
enlisted in the Manchester company of the Fifth, of which he was elected 
captain. He was promoted to be major, October 6th, 1862, and was ap- 
pointed lieutenant colonel, May 6th, 1864 ; but his commission had not 
reached him at the time of his death. 


and 22 wounded, three of whom died of their wounds. 1 
Among the killed was Captain Merrill T. Samson of Com- 
pany I, a meritorious young officer. 

From the 4th to the 10th of June, the regiment was 
frequently under fire, and lost three men wounded. On the 
13th, the Fifth moved with the brigade to the James, and 
crossed it on the 16th. 

At Petersburg in the operations of June 17th, the Fifth 
was deployed on the skirmish line. The next day, with the 
rest of the brigade, it was placed in the front line under a 
heavy artillery fire, by which, however, it lost but one man. 2 
The morning report of the regiment, June 30th, gave an 
aggregate of 587, with only 280 on duty, 303 being on the 
list of sick and wounded. The regiment moved to the north 
with the Sixth corps in July ; and in the engagement at Fort 
Stevens, in front of "Washington, July 12th, one man of the 
Fifth, who had been detailed as a sharp shooter, was wounded. 

At Charlestown, Va., August 21st, the regiment was 
again engaged, and lost two men killed and four wounded, 
one of whom died of his wounds. 3 

On the 15th of September, 1864, the original members of 
the regiment who had not re-enlisted and whose time had ex- 
pired, 107 in number, were mustered out of the service and 
returned to Vermont. This number included Adjutant C H. 
Forbes, who had been on General Grant's staff as A. A. G. 
of the brigade for over a year and a half; Surgeon A. H. 
Chesmore, Chaplain Hale, Captains F. H. Barney, L. McD. 

1 The men killed at Cold Harbor, were : M. H. Keefe, Co. A.; J. C. 
Hunt and J. H. Varney, Co. C.; L. B. Graham and C. E. Stearns, Co. F.; 
M. Courtney, Co. H. ; and P. Tomlinson, Co. K. 

Those who died of wounds were : M. W. Lamed, H. Safford of Com- 
pany A.; and L. Crady of Company B. 

* G. H. St. Louis, Co. K. 

3 J. Lewis, Co. I, and W. Jackman, Co. K. were killed. P. Ladam, Co. 
A. died of his wounds. 


Smith, E. A. Hamilton, B. K. Jenne, L. D. Tice and C. H. 
Williamson ; and Lieutenants C. H. Benton, E. P. Russell, 
O. L. Spencer, W. G. Davenport, E. S. Leach, L. F. Loomis, 
W. H. Cheney, and J. A. Bixby. There were left no field 
officers ; of the staff only Quartermaster Eells and Asst. Sur- 
geon Colburn, and of line officers only five lieutenants. It 
amounted in effect to the breaking up of the regiment ; and 
though its name remained, and it did a good deal more of 
good fighting, it existed thenceforward as a battalion, entitled 
at most to a lieutenant colonel. In the lack of officers of its 
own, the battalion was commanded for a time by Captain 
Addison Brown of the Fourth. Captain Brown was soon 
after appointed lieutenant colonel of the Fifth, his commis- 
sion dating September 18th. The vacancies in the line were 
partially filled by promotions and transfers from other regi- 
ments ; and early in October Lieutenant Eugene O. Cole of 
Bennington, who had served three years in the Second and 
had been mustered out, was appointed major. The total 
losses during the year previous to October 1st, 1864, other 
than by expiration of term of service, were 264 ; of which 
number 89 had died, 30 deserted, 21 had been discharged, 
and 22 transferred to the Veteran Eeserve Corps. The 
morning report for October 31st, showed 288 officers and 
men present for duty out of an aggregate of 516. The 
Fifth served with the brigade in Sheridan's Shenandoah 
campaign, and at Winchester, September 19th, lost six 
killed 1 and 22 wounded. In the battle of Cedar Creek, 
October 19th, the Fifth, under command of Major Enoch 
Johnson of the Second Yermont, Lieut. Colonel Brown being 
disabled by illness, took an active part, and lost two killed, 
17 wounded, one of whom died, and three missing.' Captain 

1 L. Bovatt, W. P. Valentine, Co. C.; J. Belair, Co. E.; J. J. Davis, C. 
Lucas, J. Naylor, Co. G. were killed at Winchester. 

2 J. M. Farnam, Co. E. and G. E. Davis, Co. I. were killed. M. Smith, 
Co. H., was wounded and died November llth. 


Thomas Kavaney of Company A. was among the severely 
wounded. Lieutenant George H. Sessions, A. D. C. to the 
brigade commander, is mentioned in his report for " truly 
conspicuous and gallant conduct." 

The regiment went into winter quarters with the brigade 
on the 13th of December, in the lines on the south of Peters- 
burg. In January and February 50 recruits swelled the 
aggregate to 574, with 403 present for duty and 148 sick on 
the 16th of February. The sick list diminished steadily 
during the winter, in spite of the severe picket and fatigue 
duty to which the men were subjected. Lieut. Colonel Brown 
resigned in December on account of continued ill health. 1 

In February, Captain Eonald A. Kennedy of the Third 
Vermont was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Fifth, and 
commanded the regiment during the remainder of its ser- 
vice. In the charge on the picket line of the enemy in 
front of Fort Fisher, March 25th, the regiment entered the 
works with the brigade and took a number of prisoners. 
During the final attempt of the enemy to retake the line, 
about sunset, 150 men of the Fifth, under Major Cole, were 
sent to the left to support a battery and dislodge a body of 
the enemy in and about a house from which their sharp- 
shooters enfiladed and annoyed the line of the Sixth corps. 
This was successfully accomplished. The Fifth lost one 
man killed and seven wounded, two of whom died of their 
wounds. 2 In repulsing an attack of the enemy on the picket 
line, March 27th, seven men of the Fifth were wounded and 
four reported missing. In the final attack, when the Sixth 
corps broke through the enemy's lines in front of Petersburg, 

'After leaving the service, Colonel Brown went to Illinois to visit 
friends, and died a few weeks after at Harrisburg, Pa., while on his way to 
his home in Vermont, at the age of 28 years. Though young in years, he 
was old in experience, and had proved himself a brave and trusty soldier. 

2 S. Bernheim, Co. B., was killed. W. Oliver, Co. C., and J. Bailey, 
Co. G., died of wounds. 


on the 2d of April, the Fifth, under command of Lieut. 
Colonel Kennedy, had the honor of leading the storming 
column, and its colors were the first planted by the Sixth corps 
on the enemy's works. It is believed that Captain Charles 
G. Gould of Company H., was the first man of the Sixth 
corps to mount the hostile works. Among the many feats of 
bravery performed by men of the Fifth that day, may be 
mentioned that of Sergeant Lester G. Hack of Company F., 
who seized a Confederate battle flag, knocked down the 
color bearer, though surrounded by a squad of his comrades, 
and secured the flag, which is now among the war trophies 
preserved at the war department at Washington. 

The casualties in the regiment on that glorious day 
were five killed, 34 wounded, two of whom died of their 
wounds, and seven missing; 1 total, 47 a larger number than 
in any other regiment of the brigade except the Eleventh, which 
was twice as large as the Fifth. The seven men reported 
missing were taken prisoners, but were all recaptured. 
Among the killed was Second Lieutenant J. Smith of Com- 
pany A., and among the wounded were Captain Charles G. 
Gould, who received a severe bayonet wound in the face 
and was struck by clubbed muskets as he sprang over the 
rebel intrenchments, and Captain Edson M. Kaymond of 
Company D. Captain Gould was afterwards brevetted major 
for gallant service on that occasion, and Captain Raymond 
was honorably discharged, on the 2d of June following, on 
account of his wounds. 

This was the last severe fighting done by the battalion. 
After the surrender of Lee, it marched with the brigade to 
the vicinity of Washington to await the final muster out. 

The recruits, 86 in number, whose term of service would 
expire previous to October 1st, were mustered out of the 

1 The killed of the rank and file were : H. C. Pike, Co. C.; J. Baker, 
L. Young, Co. F.; E. Brownlee, C. A. Ford, Co. H. J. Jabott, Co. C., and 
G. J. Howard, Co, G., died of their wounds. 


service June 19th, and returned to Vermont as part of a de- 
tachment of 661 men of the Vermont brigade, all of whom 
were mustered out at that time. The only officer of the 
Fifth returning with them was Captain Gould. The re- 
mainder of the regiment, 333 in number, 1 of whom 124 were 
veterans, were mustered out on the 29th of June, and started 
at once for Vermont under command of Colonel Kennedy. 
They arrived in Burlington at five o'clock in the morning of 
July 4th. Owing to some accident the citizens had not been 
notified of their coming and were not awaiting them at the 
station. Notice of their arrival was however soon given, and 
the welcome accorded them was none the less cordial for 
being a little tardy. They marched to the city hall, where 
they were welcomed home by Rev. Elbridge Mix. A boun- 
tiful breakfast was served in the hall by the ladies, after 
which the veterans marched to their quarters at the U. S 
Marine Hospital, where they were paid off, and dispersed to 
their homes to learn war no more. 

The officers of the regiment at the time of its return 
were as follows : Lieut. Colonel Ronald A. Kennedy, who 
went out in September, 1861, as a private in the Third re- 
giment, was wounded at Fredericksburg in May, 1863, was 
appointed captain in January following and transferred to 
the Fifth as Lieut. Colonel in February, 1865 ; was appointed 
colonel by the governor in June, 1865, but was mustered out, 
in accordance with the rule of War Department, as lieutenant 
colonel. Major Eugene A. Cole, who went out as a pri- 
vate in the Second regiment, and served three years, was 
mustered out with the rank of first lieutenant, returned to 
the service as major of the Fifth, December 26, 1864, and 
was brevetted lieutenant colonel for gallantry in the last as- 
sault at Petersburg. He was commissioned as lieutenant 

1 This number does not include quite all who were members of the 
regiment at that time. A few were absent on furlough or sick in hos- 
pitals, and 18 men remained on special duty a week longer. 


colonel by the governor; but was mustered out as major. 
Surgeon C. H. Allen, who went out as assistant surgeon of 
the Eighth in October, 1862, and was transferred to the Fifth 
in October, 1864. Asst. Surgeon Dan L. C. Colburn, who 
had been with the regiment since August, 1863. Quarter- 
master Isaac L. Eells, who went out as a private in 1861, re- 
ceived a second lieutenant's commission in April, 1864, and 
was appointed quartermaster in May. Adjutant Charles F. 
Leonard, who was appointed in October, 1864 ; and Chaplain 
John D. Cargill, who enlisted as private, was made sergeant 
in June, 1863, was wounded at Fredericksburg, June 5th, 
1863, re-enlisted in December of that year, and received his 
appointment as chaplain in September, 1864. 

Captain Thomas Kavaney of Company A. was promoted 
major by the governor, June 9, 1865, but was mustered out 
as captain. The line officers mustered out as such, June 29, 
1865, were fourteen in number, as follows : Captains Thomas 
Kavaney, Hiram Cook, "William H. Wright, George H. Ses- 
sions, Daniel E. Barrett, Samuel F. Kilborn and Myron S. 
Dudley, and First Lieutenants Frederick C. Davis, Charles 
Y. Cool, Wallace E. Baldwin, Edward C. Warner, Joseph M. 
Foster, James Grace and Jackson Sargent. All of these 
enlisted as privates. 

It is a noticeable circumstance that the Fifth during the 
larger part of its service, was commanded by officers below 
the rank of colonel. Its first colonel was absent from his 
command during the larger part of the year he was con- 
nected with it ; its second colonel had held the rank but 
five months when he was taken to command the brigade, and 
thenceforward the regiment was commanded by lieutenant 
colonels, majors and captains. 


The following men of the Fifth are known to have died 
in Anderson ville prison : 


Company A- H. Laraway, died August 3, 1864. 
Company B H. Crow, died August 6, 1864. 
Company C O. Seward, died August 2, 1864. 
Company D D. Crocker, died July 22, 1864. 
Company F A. B. Wilson, died February 21, 1865. 
Company G C. S. Monroe, * 

The battles in which the Fifth took an honorable part, 
were as follows : 


Lee's Mill, April 16, 1862 

Williamsburg, May 5, 1862 

Golding's Farm, June 26, 1862 

Savage's Station, - -'- - - - - - June 29, 1862 

White Oak Swamp, June 30, 1862 

Crampton's Gap, Sept. 14, 1862 

Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862 

Fredericksburg Dec. 13, 1862 

Marye's Heights, May 3, 1863 

Salem Heights, May 4, 1863 

Fredericksburg, ........ June 5, 1863 

Gettysburg, July 3, 1863 

Funkstown, July 10, 1863 

Rappahannock Station, Nov. 7, 1863 

Wilderness, May 5 to 10, 1864 

Spottsylvania, May 10 to 38, 1864 

Cold Harbor, June 1 to 12, 1864 

Petersburg, June 18, 1864 

Charlestown, Aug. 21, 1864 

Opequan, Sept. 13, 1864 

Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864 

Fisher's Hill, Sept. 21 and 22, 1864 

Cedar Creek, . Oct. 19, 1864 

Petersburg, March 25 and 27, 1865 

Petersburg, April 2, 1865 

"Captured May 10, 1863, supposed dead. ' 


The final statement of the Eegiment, given below, shows 
a larger percentage of killed and mortally wounded in action 
than that of any other Vermont regiment : 


Original members com. officers 38, enlisted men 948, total 986 

Gain; recruits 588; transferred from other regiments 43, total 631 

Aggregate 1,617 


Killed in action com. officers 5, enlisted men 128, total...'. 133 

Died of wounds com. officers 4, enlisted men 68, total 72 

Died of disease- com. officers 1, enlisted men 113, total 114 

Died, (unwounded,) in Confederate prisons 11 

Died from accidents; enlisted men 4; executed 1 5 

Total of deaths 335 

Honorably discharged com. officers, resigned 24, for wounds and dis- 
abilities 12; enlisted men discharged for wounds, 99, for disabilities, 
298, total, 434 

Dishonorably discharged com. officers 4, enlisted men 9, total 13 

Total by discharge 447 

Promoted to U. S. Army and to other regiments, officers 8, men 2, total. ..10 
Transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps, U. S. Navy and Army, etc., 

officers 2, enlisted men 90, total 92 

Deserted 109, unaccounted for 6, total 115 

Mustered out com officers 53, enlisted men 565, total .618 

Aggregate 1,617 

Total wounded 473 

Total re-enlisted... 256 



Its Organization Departure for Washington Sickness and Mortality at 
Camp Griffin The Spring of 1862 The Sixth at Lee's Mill Golding's 
Farm and Savage's Station Sickness at Harrison's Landing Cramp- 
ton's Gap and Antietam Changes of Field Officers Winter of 1862-3 
Fighting at Fredericksburg Funkstown Service in New York- 
Winter at Brandy Station Losses in the Wilderness Death and 
Sketch of Colonel Barney Personal Incidents The Shenandoah Cam- 
paign Expiration of Three Years' Term Service in front of Peters, 
burg End of the War and Return Home. 

On the day on which the Fifth regiment was mustered 
into the service, Governor Fairbanks received a communica- 
tion from the war department, urging him to raise another 
regiment of three years' troops as soon as possible. He 
accordingly, at once, September 16th, 1861, appointed the 
following recruiting officers for the Sixth regiment : Wm. 
H. Harris, Danville; C. H. Davis, Wheelock; W. E. Lewis, 
Norwich ; W. Hazelton, Essex ; W. B. Keynolds, Burlington ; 
George Parker, Jr., Yergennes; William Skinner, Eoyalton; 
D. B. Davenport, Eoxbury; A. J. Mower, Calais; D. K. 
Andros, Bradford; A. J. Dyke, Woodstock; L. M. Grout, 
Elmore ; John S. Campbell, Waitsfield. In twelve days 900 
men had been enlisted. They were ordered to rendezvous at 
Montpelier ; and on the second day of October the Eoxbury 
company arrived and went into camp at the county fair 
ground, to which the title of "Camp Smith" was given in 
honor of Hon. John Gregory Smith of St. Alhans. During 


the four days following the rest of the men arrived, for the 
most part in squads, which were organized into companies 
after their arrival in camp, not without some friction in 
settling the conflicting preferences of the men for company 
officers. The field officers had been already selected. The 
colonelcy was offered to and accepted by Lieut. Colonel 
Nathan Lord, Jr., of the Fifth. Colonel Lord was a native 
of New Hampshire, and was the youngest son of President 
Nathan Lord of Dartmouth College. He was a graduate of 
Dartmouth, and had been for a short time principal of the 
Montpelier academy. He was now thirty years old, of fine 
figure and good presence, and had had some military experi- 
ence, having been a captain in a three months regiment, the 
Seventh Indiana, and having seen some service under 
McClellan in Western Virginia. He was recommended by 
his Indiana colonel as being " as kind and merciful as he was 
brave and heroic." 

Adjutant Asa P. Blunt of the Third Vermont, who had 
had four months service in that regiment and shown himself 
a bright and competent officer, was appointed lieutenant 
colonel. Captain Oscar S. Tuttle of Cavendish, who had been 
Captain of Company. E. of the First regiment, and served 
with credit during its short term of service, was appointed 
major. The regimental staff were as follows : Adjutant E. B. 
Crandall, of Berlin; Quartermaster John W. Clark, of Mont- 
pelier; Surgeon K. C. M. Woodward, M. D., of St. Albans; 
Ass't. Surgeon Charles M. Chandler, M. D., of Montpelier; 
Chaplain, Eev. Edward P. Stone of Berlin. The latter was 
a Congregational minister just ordained. Surgeon Woo - 
ward was obliged by the condition of his health to resign a 
few days after his appointment, and was succeeded by Ass't 
Surgeon Chandler ; and Dr. Lyman Tuttle of Vernon, was 
appointed assistant surgeon. 

The State and Government officials had learned by this 
time a good deal in the business of equipping troops, and 



from the ampler supplies of army clothing now available the 
men were uniformed as fast as they arrived. On the 15th 
of October the arms, Enfield rifles, procured in New York, 
were distributed, and on the same day the regiment was 
mustered into the service of the United States by Lieutenant 
J. W. Jones, U. S. A., mustering officer. On Saturday 
morning, October 19th, thirty-three days from the receipt of 
the request of the war department for another Vermont 
regiment, the Sixth Vermont, 971 strong, took its departure 
for the field. It was a rainy morning ; but the w r hole popu- 
lation of Montpelier, and hundreds of fathers, mothers, wives 
and friends from the neighboring towns, turned out to see 
the boys off and bid them Godspeed. Not a man was left 
behind. The usual patriotic demonstrations greeted the 
regiment all along the route through Vermont and down the 
Connecticut Valley. At Springfield, Mass., refreshments 
were provided for the men by the mayor and citizens. Early 
Sunday morning the Sixth reached New Haven, where the 
steamer Elm City was waiting to take the regiment to Jersey 
City. There it took train, and at eleven in the evening arrived 
at Philadelphia, where it was received with the proverbial 
Philadelphia hospitality, and spent the night in a Baptist 
chapel. Taking train next morning the regiment had at 
Baltimore a lunch of bread and cheese, supplied by loyal 
citizens, and arrived at Washington at nine P. M. The night 
was spent at the "Soldiers' Kest," and next day the regiment 
moved to the general camping ground on Capitol Hill. On 
October 24th, the Sixth took its first march worthy of the 
name, to Camp Griffin, doing the twelve miles in three hours 
and a half. It arrived just after dark, and was received 
with cheers by the other regiments of the Vermont brigade 
as it marched past their camps to its camping ground. 

The regiment was now occupied in drill and picket duty, 
which was the chief business of the brigade, and did its share 
of both in spite of the alarming amount of sickness which soon 


prevailed in the ranks. Before the end of November ,nearly a 
third of the men were unfit for duty, and they were falling sick 
at the rate of forty a day. At one time Company B. had but 
22 men fit for duty out of 85. Surgeon Chandler was one of 
those prostrated by fevers ; and in the first two months in 
Virginia 27 men died from disease. The frequent deaths 
and prevailing sickness caused a general seriousness and 
much religious reflection among the men, and the prayer- 
meetings, held every evening, were numerously attended. 
Every care possible was taken of the sick. The more dan- 
gerously ill were removed to the brigade hospital near 
Chain Bridge. The regimental hospital tent was replaced 
by a substantial log house ; and during January the general 
health of the regiment began to improve. When the brigade 
moved with the army toward Manassas, March 10th, the 
sick list had been reduced to about 100. Up to that date, 
the deaths numbered 47, among the saddest of which was 
that of Lieutenant George H. Phelps, of Company D., a 
favorite young officer, who died of typhoid fever, January 2d, 

The regiment participated in the movements of the 
brigade in the spring of 1862, and was first under fire April 
6th, in front of the Confederate entrenchments on "Warwick 
Creek. On that day it supported one of the batteries sta- 
tioned in the edge of the woods during the first demonstra- 
tion made by General Smith's division, and though covered 
from the sight of the enemy by a curtain of growing timber, 
was subjected to a random shelling from the Confederate 
batteries, both by day and night, without loss. After two days 
and nights spent under arms, the Sixth was relieved, marched 
three miles to the right, and encamped, cold, wet and hun- 
gry, in the woods, not far from Lee's Mill, where it remained 
for nine days, and until the exciting day of April 16th. 
During the larger part of that day, and while the men of the 
Third Vermont were making, their desperate assault on the 


enemy's rifle pits at Lee's Mill, the Sixth was held in reserve 
in the woods southeast of "the chimneys" of the burned 
Garrow house. About five o'clock in the afternoon the 
second attack was ordered, the plan being that four com- 
panies of the Fourth should cross by the dam, and an equal 
number of the Sixth below the dam, and that the two bat- 
talions should attack the enemy's works in concert. The 
Sixth accordingly advanced, partly covered by the woods, 
nearly to the edge of the stream. The right wing, consisting 
of Company A., Captain Parker; Company F., Captain E. F. 
Eeynolds; Company D., Captain Hale; Company I., Lien- 
tenant Kinney, (Captain W. B. Reynolds being ill), and Com- 
pany C., Captain Spaulding, was then ordered to cross the 
creek. 1 The order was promptly obeyed. The spot selected 
for the crossing was eight or ten rods below the dam. The 
companies marched by the flank to the river. This had been 
widened and deepened by another dam below, and the water 
before them was about twenty rods wide, extending nearly up 
to the enemy's rifle pits. As the battalion entered the water 
the enemy opened a severe musketry fire. Without return- 
ing a shot the men pushed on, forded the channel of the 
creek, the water coming up waist high ; and as they came into 
the shallower water beyond, fronted into line and charged 
the works before them. A portion had hardly reached the 
rifle pits when the order to retire was given. The men fell 
back, carrying with them their wounded, some of whom re- 
ceived additional and fatal wounds in the arms of their 
comrades. The scene is thus described by Corporal A. W. 
Davis: "We started to the rear to find the water almost up 
"to where we stood, and over all the interval between us and 
"the opposite shore. In the turbid current was a mass of 
" men, struggling to the rear. Such a sight never again met 

1 General Brooks says Colonel Lord was ordered to throw four com. 
panics across the creek ; but Jive were thrown across, and two more at- 
tempted the crossing. 


" my gaze during the war. Wounded men, on reaching the 
"old bed of the stream sank with cries of despair, to be 
"found later in the swamps down the stream, where their 
" bodies had lodged. I saw two men ahead of me carrying a 
"wounded man, when they were struck by rebel bullets and 
"one or both sank. I saw two others assisting a wounded 
" man, when a bullet passed through the latter's head and he 
"pitched forward and was gone. The muddy water liter- 
" ally boiled with bullets." Some of the instances of indivi- 
dual heroism, of which there were so many in this memora- 
ble engagement, will be found narrated in the fuller account 
given in subsequent pages in connection with the history 
of the Vermont brigade. 

The loss of the regiment at Lee's Mill was 13 killed and 
67 wounded, of whom 10 died of their wounds. 1 

Among the killed was Captain E. F. Keynolds of Com- 
pany F., who received a serious wound in the hip, in spite of 
which he pressed on at the head of his company, when a 
bullet pierced his breast, killing him instantly. 2 

Among the wounded were Captain David B. Davenport 
of Company H., who received a flesh wound in the thigh 
from a musket ball; First Lieutenant Edwin E. Kinney, 
Company I., seriously wounded in the leg ; and Second 

1 The men killed were: W. M. Gibson, A. C. Noyes, Co. C.; C. E. 
Colburn, Co. D.; M. Barney, Co. E.; C. Axtell, R. Blakely, P.Connell, W. 
W. Godfrey, Co. F. ; M. Basconer, T. Daniels, E. R. Dodge, L. W. Wales, 
Co. H. 

Those who died of their wounds were : J. Oakes, E. C. Wright, Co. 
A.; L. Graves, A. Grant, J. E. Wilson, J. E. Wyman, Co. C.; L. Talbot, 
Co. D.; J. Connery, Co. F.; R. L. Bellows, Co. I. 

5 Captain Reynolds was a member of the Rutland company of the First 
regiment. He re-enlisted in the Sixth, and was chosen captain of his com- 
pany at its organization. He was a brave and patriotic soldier, and his 
loss was deeply felt in the regiment. His body was sent to Vermont, 
and was interred, at Rutland, April 23, 1862, with military and masonic 


Lieutenant Charles F. Bailey, Company D., who received a 
wound in the leg, from which he died a fortnight after. 1 

The official reports mention as deserving of especial 
credit for good conduct in the engagement, Colonel Lord, Sur- 
geons Chandler and Tuttle, Captains E. F. Reynolds and 
Davenport, Lieutenants Bailey and Kinney, Sergeant Holton 
of Company I., who was also mentioned with special credit 
in a general order, for securing and bringing back the colors, 
Sergeant Porter Crane of Company H., Sergeant W. B. Dun- 
shee, Company A., and Corporals A. L. Cox and P. H. Duggan. 

On the 29th of April, the regiment was sent out to the 
left to make a reconnoissance along the bank of Warwick 
Creek. Company G., Lieutenant Nevins, and Company K., 
Captain Barney, were thrown out in front as skirmishers, and 
advanced till they came under tire from the enemy's pickets 
by which a man in Company K. was wounded. Lieutenant 
Nevins advanced to examine the enemy's position, and while 
so doing received a ball in the knee, which shattered the 
joint. He was taken to the brigade hospital, where amputa- 
tion was performed by Surgeon Chandler, and on the 3d of 
May he died." 

The Sixth marched up the Peninsula to the front of 
Richmond with the brigade ; and on the 27th of June, acted 
as support to the picket line of General Smith's division at 
Golding's Farm in repulsing an attack of the enemy after 
sundown ; and took the place of the Forty Third New York, 

1 Lieutenant Bailey went from Troy, Vt., as orderly sergeant of Com- 
pany D., and at the death of Lieutenant Phelps in January, 1862, and 
promotion of 2d Lieutenant Dwinell, was promoted to the vacancy. He 
was a man of strong will, and thorough integrity and courage. 

2 Lieutenant Nevins was a substantial and leading citizen of Moretown. 
He stood high as a soldier, and his death occasioned especial demonstra- 
tions of respect and sorrow, on the part of his comrades. His body was 
sent home to Vermont, and was interred, at Moretown, June 9th, with 
civic and military honors. 


in front, for a while. Six men of the Sixth were wounded,, 
in this affair, and one reported missing. 2 

In the battle at Savage's Station, on the 29th, the Sixth 
was deployed on the left in the advance of the brigade, and 
lost 15 killed; 51 wounded, of whom six died of their wounds,. 
and three missing. 2 The casualties were distributed with 
much impartiality among the companies. Among those 
reported missing was Captain William B. Reynolds of Com- 
pany I., who was ill with typhoid fever in the hospital at 
Savage's Station and fell into the enemy's hands, as did nine 
other sick men of the Sixth, who were left there, with 3,000 
other sick and wounded, when the army retreated. He was 
taken thence to Richmond, and three weeks later was paroled 
and sent north. 

Lieutenant George E. Wood of Company B., Sergeant 
major Boyden, and 28 other wounded men, were left on the 
field and were captured, together with seven men who were 
detailed to stay with them as nurses. Most of these were 
paroled and discharged as soon as they were able to travel. 

Among the wounded men so captured was Corporal 
Alexander W. Davis, of Company D. While confined in 
Libby Prison, a few days later, he learned through one of 
the guards, a private of the 7th Louisiana, that his cousin 
Dr. James B. Davis, (a son of Hon. Bliss N. Davis, of Dan- 
ville, Vt.,) who was residing in Louisiana when the war broke 

1 Colonel Lord in his report of this skirmish, written two weeks after, 
alludes to it as occurring on the 29th of June. The date was that given 

2 The rank and file killed weret D. Moulton, O. S. Pinney, Co. B.; 
W. E. Caffrin, J. M. Green, Co. C.; J. Farnam, Co. D.; T. L. Bailey, G. F. 
Hazelton, Co. E.; E. D. Buzzell, Co. G.; J. M. Putnam, Co. H.; G. Mar. 
tin, E. McGlaughlin, G. Stark, Jr.. Co. L; R. Columb, R. Magoon, M. 
Mason, Co. K. 

Those dying of their wounds were : J. Clark, J. Scarborough, Co. A.; 
L. O'Connell, Co. D.; O. G. Kelsey, J. R. Murray, Co. G.; W. Cheney, 
Co. K. 


out, was the surgeon of the Seventh Louisiana regiment, then 
stationed near Eichmond. He wrote to Dr. Davis, and as a 
result of the latter's kind offices, was not only soon exchanged 
but furnished with a horse to ride from Eichmond to Aiken's 
Landing, where the prisoners were transferred to transports 
being the only man in a cartel of 1800 exchanged prisoners 
who was so favored. 1 

A period of unusual sickness prevailed in the regiment 
during the six weeks stay at Harrison's Landing due to the 
excessive fatigue of the campaign, the loss of their shelter 
tents, most of which had been left behind by the men, and 
consequent exposure to the hot sun and heavy mid -summer 
showers, and to severe fatigue duty in felling timber and 
building earthworks for the protection of the army in its new 
position on the James. At battalion drill on the last day of 
July less than 200 men appeared in line ; and the effective 
force of the regiment did not exceed 250 bayonets. The 
health of the regiment, however, improved steadily after 
leaving the Peninsula ; and during the succeeding campaign 
in Maryland, it was generally in an excellent condition. 

In the storming of Crampton's Gap, on the 14th of 
September, the Sixth had one officer, Captain E. L. Barney, 
and two men wounded. At Antietam, three days later, the 
Sixth was for a short time under a sharp artillery fire and 
had 8 men wounded. 

During the last half of September 77 recruits joined the 
regiment and on the 1st of October it had an aggregate of 
838 officers and men. Discharges for disability were fre- 
quent, and reduced the aggregate during the next two months 
to 779. On the 8th of December, the regiment being then in 

1 After the battle of Antietam, Dr. Davis was left in charge of the con- 
federate wounded within the Union lines, and there met Colonel Geo. P. 
Foster of the Fourth Vermont, and others of his former school mates. 
General Truman Seymour gave Dr. Davis a guard at that time and showed 
him kindnesses, which Dr. Davis was subsequently able to reciprocate, 
when General Seymour was a prisoner, after the battle of the Wilderness. 


Camp at Belle Plain, on the lower Potomac, the weather cold 
and tents and blankets not too plenty, the sick list numbered 
218, and but 483 officers and men were reported present for 

In the first battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13th, the 
Sixth was not actively engaged and suffered little, having but 
one man killed 1 and one wounded by artillery fire. 

The closing months of 1862, saw almost an entire change 
of field officers. In the latter part of September, Lieut. 
Colonel Blunt was promoted to the colonelcy of the Twelfth 
regiment. Major Tuttle succeeded him in the due order of 
promotion, and Captain E. L. Barney of Company K., was 
appointed major. On the 18th of December, Colonel Lord 
resigned on account of prolonged ill health, and Lieut. Colo- 
nel Tuttle was appointed to the vacancy. Colonel Tuttle 
was an experienced and capable soldier. Originally trained 
under Colonel Phelps in the First regiment, in which he 
commanded the Cavendish company, he had been steadily 
with the Sixth in all its vicissitudes, had been much in com- 
mand of it during the absences of Colonel Lord, and had 
the entire confidence of officers and men. Major Barney was 
thereupon advanced to the lieutenant colonelcy, and Captain 
Oscar A. Hale of Company D. was appointed major. 

Four months of comparative quiet folio wed the First Fre- 
dericksburg, during which the regiment was in winter quar- 
ters, with the brigade, near White Oak Church, a few miles 
east of Fredericksburg. Among the episodes of this period, 
were a share in Burnside's abortive campaign in Janu- 
ary, in which the chief duty of the regiment was marching 
in the rain and helping to boost the batteries out of the 
mud, and the presentation to the regiment of a new State 
flag a New Year's gift from the State authorities to replace 
their shot-torn and tattered colors. The receiving of the 

! A. Miller of Company E. 


colors was made the occasion of a special parade, at which 
Colonel Tuttle made a little speech and placed the new colors 
in the hands of the color, bearer amid the cheers of the regi- 

No regiment excelled the Sixth in patriotic feeling, and 
when, in March, 1863, intelligence came of certain dis- 
loyal utterances on the part of a few individuals in Yer- 
mont the news aroused strong feeling in the regiment, 
and occasioned the unanimous adoption by the men of a 
series of resolutions, which were signed by every commis- 
sioned officer present with the command, and sent to Ver- 
mont. In these they denounced as traitors those who en- 
couraged the enemy by unpatriotic utterances, expressed 
their entire confidence in President Lincoln and willingness 
to support any measures he might see fit to adopfc for the 
suppression of the rebellion, and pledged on their own part 
every possible effort and sacrifice in furtherance of a vigorous 
prosecution of the war. 

The general health of the regiment improved during the 
winter. The sick list, which numbered 212 on the 1st of 
January, had fallen to 125 on the 7th of March, and to 97 on 
the 27th of April, 1863. 

In the latter part of March, Colonel Tuttle resigned in 
consequence of serious illness. He was succeeded in the 
colonelcy by Lieut. Colonel Barney ; Major Hale was ap- 
pointed lieutenant colonel, and Captain Richard B. Crandall, 
the first adjutant of the regiment, subsequently promoted to 
the captaincy of Company K., was appointed major. 

On the 1st of May, 1863, the regiment left its winter 
quarters, with the brigade and the army, under General 
Hooker, for the Chancellorsville campaign. At the Second 
Fredericksburg in the storming of Marye's Heights, May 3d, 
the Sixth, under command of Colonel Barney, was the 
second regiment to enter the enemy's works, passing two regi- 
ments in its charge ; and in the fighting on Salem Heights 


and at Banks's Ford, next day, it especially distinguished 
itself, taking over 200 prisoners in the latter part of the 
afternoon, and winning the enthusiastic praise of its com- 
manders. Colonel Lewis of the Seventh Louisiana surren- 
dered his sword to Colonel Barney at this time. The loss of 
the regiment in the storming of Marye's Heights was one 
killed and eight wounded. On the 4th it lost four killed ; 
46 wounded, six of whom died of their wounds, and 15 
missing. The latter were mostly wounded men, some of 
whom after they had been carried back a mile from the 
front by their comrades, were left under the charge of Sur- 
geon Chandler and Sergeant S. W. Fletcher of Company 
I, in a barn near Banks's Ford, and fell into the 
enemy's hands after the retirement of the corps. Two of 
them died there, and were buried near the barn. The rest 
were paroled a week after and sent into the Union lines. 
Among the killed on the 4th was Captain Luther Ainsworth 
(of Waitsfield) of Company H., a reliable, unselfish, and 
valuable officer, who was much respected and much missed 
in the regiment. Among the wounded were Captain A. B. 
Hutchinson of Company B., hit in the arm; Lieutenant 
Porter Crane of Company H., in the neck; and Lieutenant 
F. M. Kimball of Company G., in the arm. 1 

Colonel Barney, Captain Ainsworth, and Lieutenant 
F. J. Butterfield, acting aid on Colonel Grant's staff, were 
mentioned for gallant service on these two arduous days, in 
in the report of the brigade commander. 

The following regimental order was read on dress parade, 

1 The men killed May 3d and 4th, were: F. Doyle, Co. B.; Warren 
Henry, Co. E.; H. F. Dike,* Co. H.; A. St. George, Co. I. 

Those who died of wounds were : G. Fisher, H. Marsh, Co. B.; W. IS. 
S. Claflin, Co. G.; G. W. Monger, E. L. Reynolds, Co. I.j L. Sherbut, Co. I 

* Missing supposed dead. 


in the camp of the Sixth, on the north side of the river, two 

days after : 

May 6th, 1863. j 

It is with a feeling of pride and pleasure that the colonel commanding 
reviews the action of the Sixth Vermont, from the crossing of the river to 
the time when companies A., D. and I., the very last of the corps, 
recrossed. The gallantry with which you charged across the plain and 
over the heights of Fredericksburg has been noticed by the general com- 
manding. The coolness exhibited by you while under fire awaiting the 
enemy's assault ; the gallant manner in which you repulsed the enemy and 
in turn charged him ; the number of prisoners you captured all are proof 
of your unexampled bravery and intrepidity. Do as well in the future, and 
your colonel and State may well be proud of you. 

By command of E. L. Barney, Colonel commanding 
S. H. LINCOLN, Adjutant. 

On the 5th of June, when General Howe's division was 
thrown across the Eappahannock, the Sixth and Fourth regi- 
ments were held back while the rest of the brigade crossed in 
boats, and crossed the river about dark, on a pontoon bridge. 
Next morning the Sixth was on the skirmish line, on the 
south side of the river, and for three hours was engaged in 
very spirited skirmishing, during which it held its ground 
against a superior force. The skirmishers were also engaged 
more or less during the afternoon. During the day the Sixth 
lost four men killed l and 13 wounded, among the latter be- 
ing Lieutenant Eaistrick of Company C. 

On the 13th of June, the regiment marched for the north 
with the Sixth corps, and saw its next serious fighting at 
Funkstown, Md., on the 10th of July. In that famous affair 
the Sixth was among the first to be engaged, and held its 
ground with a loss of three killed and 18 wounded, four of them 
fatally. 8 Among the wounded was Second Lieutenant Fred M. 
Kimball of Company G., whom Colonel Grant mentions in 

1 J. Hines, A. Jeffts, Co. E., D. Jesmer, Co. L; N. Potter, Co. K. 

2 The killed were M. Abbott, G. M. Patridge, Co. D.; W. P. Craig, 
Co. G.; and N. Hennon, Co. F.; F. Gaboree, W. A. Green and M. H. 
Lackie, Co. K., died of their wounds. 


his report as "a gallant officer." He had been wounded 
seriously at Banks's Ford, and after this second injury was 
obliged to resign, and received an honorable discharge in 
October following. 

When the Vermont brigade was ordered to New York to 
maintain order during the draft, the Sixth left Alexandria for 
New York, on the 18th of August, embarking with the Third 
and part of the Fourth on the steamer Illinois, which nar- 
rowly escaped wreck by collision with a schooner in Chesa- 
peake Bay. One man, Truman W. Blood of Company I was 
lost overboard in this collision and drowned, and several 
others were slightly injured. Arriving in New York on the 
21st, the regiment was stationed with the Third in Tompkins 
Square, and afterwards went to Kingston, N. Y., where it re- 
mained from the 6th to the 13th of September. Its duty there 
ended, it joined the brigade at Alexandria, September 16th. 
A sad event at this time was the death of Asst. Surgeon 
Cornelius A. Chapin, who died in New York of typhoid fever, 
on the 14th of September. 1 

The beginning of the third year of its service, October 
16th, 1863, found but 322 of the thousand men who originally 
composed the regiment remaining in its ranks. Kecruits 
received at different times, however, had kept its aggregate 
above 500, a the limit of numbers below which regiments were 
liable to consolidation, under the rules of the War Depart- 

During the month of October, the subject of re-enlist- 
ing for the war was much discussed by officers and men, 
resulting in a formal offer to the War Department, in which 

1 Dr. Chapin was a Williston boy, a graduate of both the classical and 
medical departments of the University of Vermont, an estimable young 
man, and of high promise in his profession. His remains were taken to 
Williston for interment. 

2 The morning report of October 7th, showed an aggregate of 534, with 
417 on duty and 110 sick. 


all but three officers and 75 men joined, to re-enlist as a 
veteran cavalry regiment, provided the regiment should be 
permitted to go home on furlough and recruit its ranks to 
the maximum. This proposition was not accepted by the War 
Department, and nothing came of it. Two months later 191 
men re-enlisted for the war without conditions. During this 
month, the regiment received a new chaplain, Rev. Alonzo 
"Webster of Windsor, who had been chaplain of the Sixteenth 
during its nine months term of service, who took the place of 
Chaplain Stone, resigned ; and a new surgeon, in place of 
Surgeon Chandler, resigned, in the person of Dr. Edwin 
Phillips, of Tinmouth, who went out with the Sixth as a 
private, was detailed as hospital steward, subsequently was 
appointed assistant surgeon of the Fourth, and now returned 
to the Sixth as surgeon. 

On the 15th of October, the regiment being then near 
Centreville, Lieutenant Henry Jones of Company C, while 
going to Fairfax with a mess team and guard, was captured 
by guerrillas. 

On the 19th of October, the Sixth was marching with 
the Sixth corps, across Bull Run and past Sudley Church, 
over what the boys called "Meade and Lee's through Express 
line between Alexandria and Culpepper," and on the afternoon 
of that day had a lively skirmish at Gainesville with Stuart's 
cavalry. Stuart, with superior numbers, was pressing back 
General Custer, with whom was the First Yermont cavalry, 
and had got him under pretty good headway, when the Con- 
federate troops found themselves confronted by the Sixth Ver- 
mont and Seventh Maine ; and a volley from the infantry 
brought the pursuit to an end. The Sixth was on picket 
that night, and next day was in the advance of the divi- 
sion, and drove back the Confederate cavalry to New Balti- 

The regiment was under fire with the brigade and other 
troops of Howe's Division, in the engagement at Rappahan- 


nock Station on the 7th of November, and again on the 27th, 
when the Division supported the Third Corps at the battle of 
Locust Grove ; but it was not actively engaged and suffered 
no loss on either day. 

The Sixth remained with the Brigade at Brandy Station 
through the winter, and took part in the reconnoissance 
made by the Sixth Corps to Orange Court House during the 
last week in February. The winter was marked by an unu- 
sual degree of religious interest in the regiment. Prayer 
meetings conducted by the chaplain were held almost every 
evening in the chapel tent, and a small regimental church 
was organized, which was the only such church in the 
brigade. Some two hundred recruits joined the regiment 
during the winter months, and on the opening of the Spring 
campaign of 1864 against Richmond, its aggregate was about 
600, of whom nearly 550 marched into the Wilderness. 

In April 1864, the regiment lost its trusty and capable 
Quartermaster, John W. Clark, by his appointment as cap- 
tain and A. Q. M. of volunteers and his removal to a more 
responsible position. He was succeeded as quartermaster 
by Lieutenant Charles J. S. Randall, who had been quarter- 
master-sergeant and subsequently Lieutenant of Company A. 

To say that the Sixth fought with desperate bravery, 
and suffered fearfully in the battles of the Wilderness, is the 
same as saying that it was a regiment of the old First bri- 
gade. In the bloody fighting of May 5th and 6th, the Sixth 
had 35 men killed outright, and 169 wounded, 26 of whom 
died of their wounds. The casualties were distributed very 
evenly through the line, no company having less than three 
killed or mortally wounded, or less than twelve wounded. 
Among the officers killed was Colonel Barney. While hold- 
ing his men to their work on the left of the Orange Plank 
road, in the first day's battle, he was struck in the temple by 
a partially spent musket ball which entered the head but did 
not kill him outright. He was, taken to the rear and thence 


by ambulance to Fredericksburg, where lie died on the 10th. 

Colonel Elislia L. Barney was a member of a Swanton 
family which furnished six soldiers of his name to the war 
for the Union. He was the son of Mr. George Barney, 
two of whose sons were field officers of Vermont regiments. 1 
He was a merchant in Swanton, when he enlisted in Oct. 
1861. He was mustered into the service as captain of Com- 
pany K., of the Sixth ; narrowly escaped with his life at the 
storming of Crampton's Gap, Sept. 14, 1862, when he was 
dangerously wounded in the same temple in which he after- 
wards received his mortal wound ; was promoted major in 
October 1862 ; distinguished himself in various battles and 
especially at the Second Fredericksburg ; and was promoted 
to the colonelcy, March 18th, 1863. He was a man of high 
Christian character, brave to a fault, a faithful and respected 
commander, a good disciplinarian, and a gallant leader. His 
death caused a deep sensation in his regiment, in the bri- 
gade, and at his home. His remains were taken to Vermont 
and were interred at Swanton with extraordinary marks of 
respect. A concourse of some 2,000 people assembled at his 
funeral. The places of business were closed. On his coffin 
was laid, as a trophy, the sword of the colonel of the Seventh 
Louisiana, who surrendered to Colonel Barney at Fredericks- 
burg in May 1863. All mourned for him, as for a brother. 

Captain Kiley A. Bird (of Bristol) of Company A., a 
soldier of rare merit, especially distinguished himself on the 
first day, and died before its close. He was first wounded 
in the head, and advised to go to the rear, but with the blood 
streaming down his face he sternly and even angrily refused, 
saying that it was " the business of no live man to go to the 
rear at such a time." Soon a second musket ball struck him 
in the thigh. He retired a few steps, sat down, took off his 

'A younger son, Valentine G. Barney named after Capt. Valentine 
Goodrich, who commanded a Swanton company in the war of 1812 and 
fell at Lundy's Lane was Lieut. Colonel of the Ninth Vermont. 


sash, bound it round his leg, and then resumed his place in 
the line. A third bullet pierced his heart, and he fell dead 
with the word with which he was cheering on his men cut 
short upon his lips. Captain George C. Randall, (of Wood- 
stock) of Company F.; First Lieutenant George C. Babcock, 
(of Poultney) of Company F., and First Lieutenant John G. 
Macomber, (of Westford) of Company C., all brave and 
meritorious officers, were also among the killed. Adjutant 
Sumner H. Lincoln, Captain Carlos W. Dwinell, Company C., 
and Lieutenant E. A. Holton, Company I., were among the 
wounded, the latter receiving a wound in the leg, which 
occasioned his honorable discharge three months after. 1 

1 The rank and file killed in the Wilderness were : 

Company A. W. Greenwood, D. Hill, M. E. Rider. 

Company B. M. C. Martin, A. Whitcomb. 

Company C. J. Burnham, S. Davis. 

Company D. W. A. Cook, S. Forsyth, Lewis La Bounty,* W. L. 
Livingston, H. Tilden, H. C. Welsh. 

Company E. W. Graves, J. W. Page, H. C. Wright. 

Company F. J. Conner. 

Company G. G. C. Boyce. 

Company H. A. C. Little, L. M. Spaulding, H. H. Whitney. 

Company L D. M. Holton, J. B. Nichols, T. Russell, E. D. Sands, 
O. A. Scribner, H. C. Vantyne. 

Company K. H. Hutchins, P. Morgan. 

Those who died of their wounds were : 

Company A. M. Mancy, W. W. Wheeler. 

Company B. M. C. Stratton.f 

Company C. W. E. Anderson, M. Cummings, H. Durphy, J. H. 

Company D. L. C. Allen, J. LaMarsh, E. J. Williams. 

Company E. H. Greeley, N. F. Scott. 

Company F. P. N. Bates. 

Company G. W. Cleveland, C. P. Divoll, B. Ricker. 

Company H. G. C. Bliss, L. W. Blodgett, G. P. Whitney. 

Company I. J. J. LaMarsh, W. Shackett, H. O. Snow, N. Woodworth. 

Company K. R. Maine, B. Sherbut. 

William Cox, Co. F. , and I. Ramo, Co. K. , were not seen after the battle 
of the Wildnerness and were probably killed. 

* Missing supposed dead. 

t Wounded and prisoner not heard of after. 



After the mortal wounding of Colonel Barney, the com- 
mand of the regiment devolved on Lieut. Colonel Hale. The 
Sixth shared the forced march of the brigade to Spottsylvania, 
on the 8th of May ; and was one of the regiments honored 
by being selected to help form the column which, under 
Colonel Upton, carried the enemy's salient on the 10th. 
Among the wounded in that famous charge was Captain A. 
H. Keith (of Sheldon) of Company K., who received a musket 
ball through the shoulder, inflicting an injury from which he 
never fully recovered and which occasioned his honorable 
discharge in September following. 

On the 15th of May, the thinned ranks of the regiment 
were strengthened by the addition of two companies of draft- 
ed men, 149 in number, who had been on detached duty for 
over a year at Brattleboro. They were a welcome addition, 
and raised the effective force of the regiment to 450 men. 

The losses of the regiment in the almost continuous 
fighting from the 8th to the 21st of May, were four killed ; 29 
wounded, five of whom died of their wounds, and three miss- 
ing. Most of these casualties occurred on the 10th. In the 
next two weeks the regiment lost four men killed and 18 
wounded, of whom three died of wounds. 1 On the 7th of June, 
when the brigade was holding a portion of the entrenched 
line of the Sixth corps at Cold Harbor, the regiment suffered 
the loss of another field officer, Major Eichard B. Crandall, 
who received a mortal wound in the abdomen and died the 
same day. Major Crandall went out as adjutant of the regi- 
ment, was subsequently captain of Company K., and was 
appointed major in March, 1863. He was a gallant young 
officer, and was deeply mourned by the command. His body 

'The men killed at Spottsylvania were: C. G. McAllister, Co. A.; 
T. O. Barber, G. S. Pratt, Co. C.; S. P. Perkins, Co. D.; H. T. Mosely, 
C. C. Cleveland, Co. I. 

Those who died of their wounds were: S. Stebbins, Co. A.; C. A. 
Knapp, Co. B.; M. H. Barker, K Smith, J. A. Scabie, Co. C.; D. C. Bab- 
cock, Co. D.; J. E. Averill, J. Campbell, Co. K. 


was sent to his home in Berlin, for interment. Two men 
killed and four wounded were added to the list of casualties 
between the 4th and 10th of June. 1 

The regiment crossed the James on the 16th of June with 
the brigade. In the assault on the defences of Petersburg, 
June 18th, the Sixth was held in reserve. The next day it was 
under fire in the front line, and had a man mortally wounded. 
On the 20th it was again under sharp fire and lost another 
man mortally wounded. 2 In the disastrous affair at the 
Weldon railroad, June 23, the regiment was more fortunate 
than some others of the brigade, and lost only one man, - 

An incident of the siege of Petersburg is worthy of re- 
lation here, though not strictly part of the service of the 
Sixth. During the spring of 1864, Dan Mason, the tall 
orderly sergeant of Company D., and Sergeant Alexander W. 
Davis of the same company, of the Sixth, were promoted 
to positions in colored regiments, Mason being appointed 
Captain in the 19th and Davis in the 39th U. S. C. T., of the 
Fourth division of the Ninth Army Corps. On the 30th of 
July, 1864, these regiments took part in the assault on the 
enemy's works near the "crater" made by the explosion of 
the Petersburg mine. In the rout of the division which 
followed, Lieutenant Davis came back to the Union lines, 
with the mass of the brigade of which his regiment was a 
part, while Captain Mason took shelter with others in a 
bomb-proof within the enemy's lines. When they were driven 
out by the enemy, Captain Mason made a home run for the 
Federal lines, passed untouched through a shower of bullets, 
and sprang over the sandbags of the Union lines, to fall in- 

1 The men killed at Cold Harbor were: B. M. Ware, Co. E.; E. M. 
Farr, Co. F.; G. F. Wilson, Co. G. 

Those who died of wounds were: F. W. Sprague, Co. A.; H. J. 
Baker, Co. F. ; E. E. Burroughs, I. 8. Gove, Co. G. 

8 These were : William Lane, Co. I.: and W. Gardner, Co. F. 


sensible from an apoplectic attack brought on by excitement 
and over exertion. As it happened he fe]l at the feet of his 
old tent-mate, Lieutenant Davis, whe was able to render him 
assistance which restored him to consciousness and probably 
saved his life. 1 

In July the Sixth went with the Sixth corps to Washing- 
ton to repel Early's raid. In the sharp engagement at 
Charlestown, Ya., on the 21st of August, the regiment, under 
Lieut. Colonel Hale, held the centre of the skirmish line, and 
suffered more severely than any other regiment of the brigade, 
losing eight killed ; 31 wounded, two of whom died of wounds, 
and one missing. Both its field officers, Lieut. Colonel Hale 
and Major Dwinell, were severely wounded ; and the latter 
died of his wounds, three days after, in a hospital at Balti- 
more. 9 

After the loss of its field officers the command of the 
regiment fell for six weeks upon Captain M. Warner Davis of 
Company D. The regiment entered on the Shenandoah 
campaign, under General Sheridan, with an effective force of 
385 officers and men, out of an aggregate of 658. In the 
battle of the Opequan, September 19th, the Sixth was on the 

1 Captain Mason lived to see Petersburg taken, and died at Browns- 
ville, Texas, where he was on duty with his regiment, in December, 1865. 
His remains were taken to his former home in Glover, for interment, and a 
post of the Grand Army of the Republic, in that town, bears his name. 

2 Major Carlos W. Dwinell was a native of Calais, Vt. He enlisted at 
the age of 23, from the town of Glover, was elected second lieutenant of Co. 
D. at its organization in October, 1861, was subsequently adjutant of the 
regiment, and reached the rank of major by successive promotions. He 
was a quiet, painstaking and valuable officer, and a favorite in the regiment 
and the brigade. 

The men killed at Charlestown were S. Spooner, Co. A.; A. Whitcomb, 
Co. B.; H. S. Foster, A. Thomas, Co. C.; L. B. Cook, Co. D.; W. H. Ing. 
leston,* Co. E. ; E. R. Richardson, Co. H.; L. Poquet, Co. I. 

Those who died of their wounds were S. P. Dean, Co. C., and A. M. 
Gray, Co. D. 

* Reported missing in action and supposed dead. 


skirmish line in the forenoon, and becoming accidentally 
separated from the brigade and the second division, fought 
during the latter half of the day with the third division, 
General Eicketts's, of the Sixth corps, and gained especial 
credit. Its loss was five killed outright and 46 wounded, of 
whom six died of their wounds. 1 Among the wounded were 
Adjutant Sumner H. Lincoln, who was hit in the head early 
in the day; and Captain C. E. Joslyn of Company A., severely 
wounded in the head, creating a disability which occasioned 
his honorable discharge several months after. 

The Sixth took an honorable part in the battle of Fisher's 
Hill, without loss. The three }-ears' term of the original 
members of the Sixth expired October 16th, and on that 
day, as many as had not re-enlisted, being 14 officers and 120 
men, left the regiment, then in camp at Cedar Creek, and 
returned to Vermont. They arrived at Brattleboro in the 
evening of the 20th, and were mustered out October 28th. 
Among the officers so retiring were Lieut. Colonel Hale, still 
suffering from his recent wound ; Chaplain Webster ; Captains 
M. W. Davis, B. D. Fabyan, Thomas E. Clark, Porter Crane, 
Jr., and Frank D. Butterfield, and Lieutenants W. W. Carey, 
C. C. Backus, George H. Hatch, Matthew Hurry, George 
Neddo, E. H. Nye, and Thomas Murphy. 

The battalion of about 320 effective men remaining in 
the field was consolidated into six companies, Company B. 
being consolidated with Company H., Company D. with I., 
Company E. with K., and Company F. with A. The battalion 
was under the command of Capt. E. E. Kinney, until, on the 
21st of October, Adjutant Sumner H. Lincoln was promoted 
to the command with the rank of major, a fit recognition 
of his gallantry and fitness for command. 

1 The killed September 19th were : A. A. Spaulding, Co. C.; C. Blake, 
. P. Upham, Co. D.; S. Leazer, Co. E.; D. Colt, Co. H. 

Those who died of their wounds were: L. A. Tyler, C. B.; S. P. 
White, J. Vondal, Co. C.: E. S. Gray, Co. D.; John Fitzsimmons, Co. F.; 
T. S. Barney, Co. I. 


At Cedar Creek, Oct 19th, the regiment was commanded 
by Captain Kinney until he was wounded, when he was suc- 
ceeded in the command by Captain William J. Sperry of 
Company C. The regiment lost four men killed, 32 wounded, 
six of whom died of their wounds, and eight missing. 1 

The Sixth left the Shenandoah Yalley with the Sixth 
corps on the 9th of December, and on the 13th of that month 
went into winter quarters between the camps of the Third 
and Fifth regiments on the south of Petersburg. The picket 
and fatigue duty were severe ; but the health of the regiment 
improved during the winter. 

The morning report of the 1st of January, 1865, showed 
an aggregate of 555, with 347 on duty and 195 on the sick 
list. Major Lincoln was promoted to be lieutenant colonel in 
January, and Captain Sperry was appointed major. 

In the assault on the enemy's entrenched picket line in 
front of Fort Fisher, on the 25th of March, the Sixth had the 
left of the front line, and was under artillery fire for hours, 
with, however, the loss of but one man wounded. 

In the final assault on the defences of Petersburg, the 
regiment was commanded by Major Sperry, Colonel Lincoln 
being laid up with intermittent fever. The Sixth entered the 
enemy's works among the foremost, was in the front line 
during the subsequent movement, and men of the Sixth 
assisted in the capture of a battery near the Turnbull house, 
elsewhere narrated. The regiment lost two men killed and 
19 wounded, of whom one died of his wounds.* 

The regiment shared in the pursuit of Lee's army after 

'The killed at Cedar Creek were: C. Parmenter, Co. C.; W. H. 
Chapman, Co. E.; J. P. Horr, J. Kelley, Company F. 

Those who died of their wounds were : A. L. Cox, Co. A.; C. H. 
Hardy, Co. C.; E. Morse, Co. H.; W. D. Mather, Co. I.; J. Betney, 
W. O'Hara, Co. K. 

2 S. P. Peck, Co. L; and M. Green, Co. K., were killed, and N. H. 
Atwood, Co. C., died of his wounds. 


the fall of Kichmond, rested with the brigade at Danville, 
visited the fallen capital, and early in June went into camp 
near Munson's Hill, about three miles from its first camp in- 
Virginia in 1861. 

On the 19th of June the recruits, whose terms of service 
would expire before October 1st, 1865, were mustered out of 
the service. Their number included one commissioned 
officer, Adjutant English, and 140 enlisted men. The re- 
mainder of the Sixth, numbering 398 officers and men, were 
mustered out on the 26th of June. Those of them who were 
able to travel, 297 in number, left camp next day for Ver- 
mont. Of the officers of the regiment at the close of its 
service, Lieut. Colonel Sumner H. Lincoln went out with the 
regiment as private in 1861, was appointed adjutant in 
February 1863, was wounded in the "Wilderness and again 
at Winchester, was appointed major in October 1864, and 
lieutenant colonel in January 1865. He was commissioned 
as colonel by the governor June 4th, 1865, but was mustered 
out as lieutenant colonel. Major William J. Sperry enlisted 
as a private in September 1861, and was promoted succes- 
sively through all the grades to the majority. He was bre- 
vetted lieutenant colonel for gallantry in the assault on Peters- 
burg, April 2d, and received a commission as lieutenant 
colonel from the governor, but was mustered out as major. 
Quartermaster Charles J. S. Randall went out with the 
regiment as private in 1861, was appointed quartermaster- 
sergeant, and subsequently first lieutenant of Company A. 
Surgeon Edwin Phillips also went out at the beginning as a 
private ; he was appointed assistant surgeon of the Fourth 
regiment in August 1862, and became surgeon of the Sixth 
in October 1863. Chaplain Harvey Webster had served in 
that capacity since November 1864. Captain Edwin E. 
Kinney of Company G., was commissioned major in June, 
but was mustered out as captain. Seventeen other line 
officers returned with the regiment, viz. : Captains George E. 


Wood, George W. Burleson, Henry N. Bushnell, Lyman 
S. Williams and Sanford G. Gray ; Lieutenants Patrick H. 
Murphy, (commissioned as captain but mustered out as first 
lieutenant), Edwin A. Barney, Harry B. Pettingill, Frank A. 
Trask, Eri L. Ditty, George W. Flanders, William Raycroft, 
Herman L. Small, Horace W. Brownell, Winslow S. Moore, 
Edgar E. Herrick, and Silas O. Dwinnell. Sergeant Henry 
Martin of Company G., was appointed adjutant in June, 
and Sergeant Peter Begor of Company A., second lieute- 
nant; but both were mustered out as sergeants. 

The regiment arrived at Burlington at midnight of the 
29th of June, 1865, and like all the returning regiments was 
received by a numerous concourse of citizens. Marching to 
the city hall the veterans were welcomed home by William G. 
Shaw, Esq., in fitting terms. The ladies of Burlington served 
a supper for them in the hall in the small hours of the morn- 
ing, and sang songs of welcome, and gave them three cheers 
and a "tiger," all to the immense entertainment and pleasure 
of the soldiers. The latter were furloughed for a week, to 
await the arrival of the U. S. paymaster. Reassembling at 
Burlington on the 8th of July, they were paid off by Major 
Wadleigh, U. S. A., and then finally dispersed to their homes. 

Among the men of the Sixth who returned not from the 
war, the names of the following are recorded as having given 
up their lives in Confederate prisons : 


M. W. Bentley, Co. A., died at Anderson ville, August 7, 1864. 
C. Chamberlin, Co. A., died at Anderson ville, July 29, 1864. 
A. K. Wilson. Co. A., died at Andersonville, July 31, 1864. 
G. W. Whitehill, Co. B., captured May 5, 1864, died at Andersonville. 
H. L. Jones, Co. C., died at Andersonville, July 14, 1864. 
I. T. Maxham, Co. C., died at Andersonville, September 11, 1864. 
P. A. Whitney, Co. C., captured July 1, 1862, supposed to have died 
in Richmond, Va. 

J. M. Green, Co. D., died in Richmond, 1862. 

G.L. Marble, Co. G., captured October 19, 1864, died at Richmond, 
December, 1864. 


M. C. Chase, Co. H. , captured in the Wilderness, died at Andersonville, 
July 3, 1864. 

M. Lester, Co. L, died at Salisbury, N. C., December 11, 1864. 

The battles in which the Sixth Yermont volunteers took 
honorable part, as officially recorded, were as follows : 


Lee's Mill, April 16, 1863 

Williamsburg, May 5, 1862 

Golding's Farm, June 26, 1862 

Savage's Station, June 29, 1862 

White Oak Swamp, June 30, 1862 

Crampton's Gap Sept. 14, 1862 

Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862 

Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862 

Marye's Heights, May 3, 1863 

Salem Heights, May 4, 1863 

Fredericksburg, June 5, 1863 

Gettysburg, July 3, 1863 

Funkstown, July 10, 1863 

Rappahannock Station, Nov. 7, 1863 

Wilderness, - May 5 to 10, 1864 

Spottsylvania, May 10 to 18, 1864 

Cold Harbor, June 1 to 12, 1864 

Petersburg, June 18, 1864 

Charlestown, August 21, 1864 

Opequan, Sept. 13, 1864 

Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864 

Fisher's Hill, Sept. 21 and 22, 1864 

Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864 

Petersburg, March 25 and 27, 1865 

Petersburg, April 2. 1865 


The final statement of the Sixth regiment is as follows : 


Original members com. officers 36 ; enlisted men 930, total, 966 

Gain recruits 703, transfers from other regiments 7, total, 710 

Aggregate, 1680 


Killed in action com. officers 8; enlisted men 95, total, 103 

Died of wounds com. officers 4; enlisted men 80, total, 84 

Died of disease com. officers 2 ; enlisted men 180, total, 182 

Died (unwounded) in Confederate prisons 22 ; from accident 2, 24 

Total of deaths, 393 

Honorably discharged com. officers, resigned 22 , for wounds and 
disability 10 ; enlisted men, for wounds 66 ; for disability 339, 

total, 437 

Dishonorably discharged com. officers 1 ; enlisted men 7, 8 

Total discharged, 445 

Promoted to U. S. A. and other regiments officers 5 ; enlisted men 

13, total, IS 

Transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps, Navy, Regular Army, etc., 126 

Deserted 83; unaccounted for 4, 87 

Mustered out com. officers 40 ; enlisted men 571, total 611 

Aggregate, 1680 

Total wounded 397 

Total re-enlisted... 197 



Organization of the Vermont brigade Its first commander, General Brooks- 
Winter at Camp Griffin Remarkable period of sickness Opening 
of the Spring campaign of 1862 Movement to Fortress Monroe The 
march up the Peninsula Brought to a halt at Warwick River 
Baptism of blood at Lee's Mill Incidents of the action Care of the 
wounded The battle of Williamsburg Fighting of Smith's division 
March to the White House on the Pamunkey. 

The only brigade in the Army of the Potomac, distinc- 
tively and permanently known by the name of its State, was 
the First Vermont brigade. The title of "The Vermont 
Brigade" attached to it chiefly, no doubt, because during most 
of its history it was the only Vermont brigade ; but perhaps 
also in part because the Vermonters were recognized as good 
fighters and because the men of this brigade illustrated the 
qualities which gave to their ancestors their distinctive title 
of " Green Mountain Boys " in the War of the ^Revolution. 

The first suggestion of the formation of a brigade of 
Vermont regiments was made by General William F. Smith 
in the fall of 1861. Up to that time, and for some time after, 
it was not the policy of the government to brigade regiments 
of the same State together, the theory of the army authorities 
being that losses falling on brigades would be less felt if dis- 
tributed over several States and that rivalry between regi- 
ments of different States in the same brigade would conduce 
to the efficiency of all. General Smith was allowed, however, 
by General McClellan, to organize his Vermont brigade ; and 
the success of the experiment \?as complete, as it was in the 


case of the similar State brigades of "Wisconsin, Michigan, 
New York, New Jersey and other troops. 

In General McClellan's report of the organization of the 
Army of the Potomac, October 15th, 1861, the Vermont regi- 
ments appear as constituting the first 1 brigade of General 
Smith's division, the other brigades of that division be- 
ing Stevens's, Hancock's and Casey's. The brigade at that 
date consisted of the Second, Third, Fourth arid Fifth Ver- 
mont regiments, then encamped between Chain Bridge and 
Lewinsville, Va. The brigade was completed by the arrival 
of the Sixth, October 24; and Captain and Bvt. Major W. T. 
H. Brooks, of the Third infantry, U. S. A., who had been 
serving on General McClellan's staff and had just been 
appointed brigadier general of volunteers, was assigned to 
its command. He was of Vermont lineage, his father 
having been a native of Montpelier. He was born in Ohio, 
and appointed from that State to the U. S. military academy, 
from which he graduated in 1841, in the class of which Don 
Carlos Buell, John F. Reynolds, and other prominent general 
officers, were members. He had seen active service in the 
M exican war, and on the frontier, and had established his 
reputation as a brave, experienced and capable soldier. As 
was the case with most officers of the regular army at that 
time, he had little sympathy with the anti-slavery sentiment 
which animated the soldiers and people of Vermont, and gave 
no welcome to an " abolition war ;" but he proposed to do 
his duty to the government and to the flag he had sworn to 
serve ; and if the brigade which he commanded for a year and 
a half had a noteworthy share in the overthrow of the Rebel- 
lion, it was due in large part to the thorough training and 
soldierly example of its first brigade commander. General 
Brooks was in his forty-second year, tall and erect of figure, 
unostentatious and soldierly in bearing, and from the first 

1 First, that is, in order. The brigades were not then formally num- 


made a favorable impression on his command, which 
strengthened with time and better knowledge. 

Camp Griffin, the camp of the brigade for five months, 
and for a longer period than was spent by it in any other spot, 
always had a distinct place in the memory of the Vermonters 
who there saw their first campaigning. It was in a fine roll- 
ing country, of varied open fields and magnificent woodlands, 
many acres of which fell under the axes of the Vermont boys. 
The knolls around had been dotted with mansions, many of 
which were already in ruins under the ruthless touch of war. 
The soil was, the red Virginia clay, so unlike that of New 
England. The camp was on the road from Chain Bridge to 
Lewinsville, a mile and a half from the latter hamlet, and 
on and around Smoot's Hill, from the top of which the camps 
of most of the twenty-five regiments and batteries of General 
Smith's division could be seen covering the country round, a 
part of the constantly increasing army, which stretched for 
five miles up and down the Potomac in front of Washing- 
ton. The Confederate outposts were five or six miles away, 
and the mass of the Confederate army, under General Joe 
Johnston, lay at Centreville and Manassas, fifteen miles to 
the southwest. 

The thing which chiefly gave the brigade distinction 
during the fall of 1861, was the extraordinary amount of sick- 
ness which prevailed in the regiments. This began to be 
remarkable in November, and soon attracted anxious atten- 
tion in Vermont, and wide notice throughout the army. On 
the 12th of December, Dr. Edward E. Phelps, one of the fore- 
most physicians in Vermont, who had been sent by the 
governor to investigate the subject on the ground, reported 
that of the men of the five regiments, numbering 4,939 on 
the ground, no less than 1,086, or about one-fourth, were 
excused from duty in consequence of sickness. Of these, 201 
were sick in hospital, 245 sick in their tents, and 550 able to 
be up and about though unfit for duty. The prevailing dis- 


eases were remittent and intermittent fevers, typhoid pneu- 
monia and diarrhoea. The only cause Dr. Phelps could 
assign for this condition of things, was that the regiments had 
been too long stationary in their camps, on soil which had 
became saturated with noxious elements. But why these 
conditions affected the Yermonters, above all others similarly 
situated, was not explained. 

In the general report of the Medical Director of the 
Army of the Potomac, Surgeon Charles S. Tripler, upon the 
sanitary condition of the army from March, 1861, to August, 
1862, he said : " In November, 1861, with a mean ratio of 
"6.6 per cent, sick in the whole army, twelve Massachusetts 
"regiments gave an average of 50 sick each; five Vermont, 
" an average of 144 each ; and thirty-five Pennsylvania, an 
"average of 61 each. In January, 1862, the Twelfth Mas- 
'"sachusetts, 1,005 strong, had but four sick ; the Thirteenth, 
"1,OC3 strong, but 11 ; while the Fifteenth, 809 strong had 
"68. In the same month the Fifth Vermont, 1,000 strong, 
"had 271 sick ; the Fourth, 1,047 strong, had 244 sick ; while 
"the Second, 1,021 strong, had but 87, and the Third, 900 
"strong, had but 84. All these regiments were in the same 
" brigade and encamped side by side." Among the causes of 
disease, Surgeon Tripler mentioned severe fatigue duty on 
the field works, exposure on picket duty, and frequent alarms 
in some portions of the lines. This last cause, he says, " was 
particularly the case in front of some of the Vermont troops 
in Brooks's brigade," and he thinks it may have had an 
unfavorable effect on men predisposed to disease from other 
causes. If so, it was not, however, because the Vermonters 
scared easily. The night alarms which deprived them of 
needed rest, came invariably from the other troops around 

In a special report of January 28th, 1862, Medical 
Director Tripler says : " The Vermont regiments in Brooks's 
" brigade give us the largest ratio of sick, of all the troops in 


"this army, and that ratio has not essentially varied for 
"the last three months. They suffered in the first place from 
"measles. In this they simply shared the lot of all irregular 
"troops. Since then they have been and are the subjects of 
" fevers, remittent and typhoid. The inspector of hospitals, 
" (Surgeon Keeney) reports the police 1 of all these regiments 
" as good, their clothing good, their tents good, with the ex- 
" ception of the Second and Third regiments, and, strange to 
"say, those two regiments are in decidedly the best sanitary 
"condition. The locations of the camps of the Fifth and 
" Sixth are reported as bad, but that of the Third is also bad. 
tt # # "\yhile writing I have received another weekly re- 
41 port from the Vermont brigade, which shows a large increase 
"of sick over that of the preceding week. * * * The 
"food of our men is now good and they are gradually im- 
" proving in their cooking. The clothing of the men is gen- 
" erally good. I do not think any deficiency in this respect 
" has anything to do with the fevers that scourge our Vermont 
" troops. * * * I believe there is a nostalgic element in 
" those regiments affecting them unfavorably." 

On the 6th of February, 1862, Surgeon Tripler reported 
that he had sent a large detachment of convalescents to Phila- 
delphia, in order to make room for the sick of the Vermont 
brigade in the general hospitals, " in hopes that some bene- 
ficial effect might result to the well from removing the sick 
from their sight, and thus avoiding the depressing influence 
of so much sickness among their comrades." Among the 
other special measures taken by the State and government 
authorities to care for the sick, five additional assistant 
surgeons were detailed for service in the brigade ; 2 log houses 

1 Unmilitary readers will understand that this term in the army has sole 
reference to cleanliness. To "police" a camp is to clear it of dirt and 
noxious deposits. 

2 Three of them Asst. Surgeons Porter, Phillips and D. W. Hazelton, 
were sent out by the governor, and two, Asst. Surgeons Shaw and Good- 
win by the U. S. surgeon general. 


were substituted for hospital tents, care was taken by the 
regimental officers to remove causes of disease from the 
camps, and deficiencies in clothing were supplied. These 
means and precautions had their effect, and as the winter 
drew to a close the health of the regiments improved, and the 
spirits of the men, who had been much depressed by the 
mortality in the ranks, rose correspondingly. 

The work of the winter was drill though the deep mud 
in January and February made necessary a suspension of 
battalion and brigade drills ; picket duty, each regiment 
taking its turn on picket once in five days ; and fatigue duty 
on the forts near the camps. The officers generally built 
comfortable log cabins for their quarters, and many of them 
had their wives with them in camp. The picket duty, in the 
cold rains and frequent storms of snow and sleet, was severe, 
but not very dangerous, one man (of the Second regiment) 
killed on picket being the extent of the casualties. The 
occasional reconnoissances, heretofore described in the regi- 
mental histories, afforded excitement for the time being. 
Contrabands frequently came into the lines and always found 
a safe refuge in the camps. One night in February, twenty- 
seven colored fugitives came in, were fed, and sent to Wash- 
ington by General Brooks. 

During the last half of February the weather became 
much milder. The mud dried so that battalion drills were 
resumed ; and Washington's birthday was celebrated by a 
brigade dress parade. The cheerful news of the captures of 
Forts Henry and Donelson, received about this time, raised 
the spirits of all : the desire to be led against the enemy be- 
came strong among the troops, and by none was the pros- 
pect of active operations more eagerly welcomed than by the 

In the organization, in March, 1862, of the vast army with 
which McClellan was now about to take the field, Brooks's 
Vermont brigade formed a part of General Wm. F. Smith's 


division of the Fourth Corps, General Keyes. The division 
was one of the best in the army. Its commander, General 
" Baldy" Smith, was recognized as one of the most valuable 
officers in the service ; its three brigade commanders, Gen- 
erals Hancock, Brooks and Davidson, were trained soldiers 
who subsequently won high distinction ; and their brigades 
comprised the Thirty-third and Forty-ninth New York, 
Seventh Maine, Fifth Wisconsin, and others subsequently 
famous as fighting regiments. Four light batteries, Ayres's, 
Mott's, Wheeler's and Kennedy's, were attached to the divi- 

At midnight on the 9th of March came the order to have 
two days' rations cooked and to march at 3 o'clock in the 
morning. It was received with cheers and rejoicing through- 
out the brigade. Bonfires of combustibles which the men 
could not carry and would rather burn than leave, began to 
blaze in the company streets. The packing of knapsacks, 
writing letters to friends at home and other preparations oc- 
cupied the short hours of the night ; and before dawn the 
brigade was marshaled, with the division, on the open plain. 
At sunrise it moved off through Lewinsville and past Vienna, 
to the southwest, the men not doubting that they were to 
meet the enemy, perhaps on the plains of Manassas ; and 
rejoicing with an eagerness which the drizzling rain could not 
dampen, in the prospect of an opportunity to wipe out, on 
the same field, the disgrace of Bull Run, and to end the war 
in a great pitched battle. The troops marched for the most 
part through the fields, the roads being left to the long trains 
of army wagons ; and the march presented to the men the 
striking sights and scenes, new to most of them, which mark 
the movement of a great army. Shortly after noon the bri- 
gade halted at Flint Hill, north of Fairfax Court House. 
It remained halted during the afternoon. Something evi- 
dently had arrested the movement of the division, and toward 
night came the explanation, in a whispered rumor that there 



was no enemy in front to be attacked. The night was spent 
under shelter-tents 1 the first experience of the men under 
such scanty shelter. Next morning the rumor was confirmed, 
and it became known that General Joe Johnston who, with 
an army which at no time numbered fifty thousand men for 
duty, had for six months kept the Confederate flag flying 
within sight of the National capital had now, at his own 
time and on his own motion, evacuated Centreville, and 
taking with him his guns and material, had retired beyond 
the Kappahannock. General McClellan had ably organized 
an army of 175,000 men ; had instilled into it absolute con- 
fidence in himself ; had communicated to it with a few ex- 
ceptions 2 his own delusion that the rebel army in front of 
Washington exceeded a hundred thousand me a ; had held 
them inactive during precious weeks, some of them quite 
favorable for military movements and this against constant 
pressure and even orders to move from the President and 
now found himself confronted, not by a powerful enemy but 
by empty camps and a new situation. 

The brigade remained at Flint Hill for four days, during 
which McClellan and his generals were maturing plans for a 
change of base and campaign against Kichniond by way of 
the Peninsula between the York and James Kivers. 

On the 12th the division was reviewed by General 

On Saturday the 15th, in a drenching rain, the brigade 
moved with the division to Alexandria a march of over 

Strips of 'cotton cloth, two of which, buttoned together, made a low 
shelter for two men. The tents occupied by the brigade during the win- 
ter had been left standing at Camp Griffin. 

2 General Wadsworth, who was stationed near Ball's Cross roads, told 
Mr. Greeley, in January, that the testimony of numerous deserters had sat- 
isfied him that the rebels had " but fifty or sixty regiments certainly not 
over 50,000 men." General Johnston's aggregate present for duty in 
February was 47,306. General McClellan's aggregate present for duty at 
that time was 150,000. 


twenty miles by the route taken and the hardest march the 
men (except those of the Second) had experienced. The 
transports were not ready, and on Monday the brigade 
marched back four miles to Cloud's Mills, where it re- 
mained a week. On Sunday, March 23d, it marched to 
Alexandria again and embarked. The spirits of the men were 
high, and the moving of the division, of 13,000 men, with 
bands playing and colors flying, on board of the large 
steamers waiting with steam up to take them to some des- 
tination as yet unknown but concerning which it was enough 
to know that it was some point in the South, where they 
would meet the enemy was an imposing spectacle and not 
soon forgotten by those who witnessed it. 

The fleet of transports bearing the Fourth Corps an- 
chored for the night opposite Mount Yernon, and next day 
steamed down the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay, past shores 
of historic interest, now first seen by most of the Yermonters, 
and arrived off Fortress Monroe during the night. The next 
morning's light presented to their wondering gaze the frown- 
ing battlements of Fortress Monroe ; the little Monitor, 
already world-famous from her encounter with the Merrimac 
two weeks before 5* the waters of Hampton Hoads, black with 
steamers, ships of war and craft of all sizes, by hundreds ? 
and the beach and shores covered with masses of infantry, 
trains of artillery and lines of army wagons. The brigade 
debarked, and at 10 A. M. took up its line of march past the 
fort, across the Hampton Kiver, past the naked chimneys and 
charred ruins of what was once the ancient and beautiful 
village of Hampton, and out three or four miles toward 
Newport News, over ground familiar to those who had been 

1 It may be noted here, that John F. Winslow, one of the two men 
who backed Ericsson with money and powerful influence, secured the con- 
tract for the Monitor from the government, and crowded the work of con- 
struction to completion in a hundred and one days, was a native Vermonter, 
born in Bennington. 


members of the First Yermont, halting and camping in the 
grain fields and pine groves of a plantation near the banks 
of the James Eiver. Here it remained for two days. 

The army taken by General McClellan to the Peninsula 
and now gathering in bivouacs on the roads leading out from 
Hampton, consisted of the Second Corps, General Sumner ; 
the Third, General Heintzleman, and the Fourth, General 
Keyes comprising eight divisions, each from 12,000 to 15,000 
strong, and 31 batteries ; and forming, with the reserve artil- 
lery, cavalry, and regulars, an army of about 120,000 men 
and 44 batteries. Of the two corps left behind, the Fifth, 
General Banks, was for the immediate protection of Wash- 
ington; while the First, General McDowell, was expected 
by General McClellan though his expectation was disap- 
pointed to co-operate with the main army by a movement 
from the right bank of the York River. As the troops landed 
on the Peninsula and moved out into the open country, 
they were arranged in two columns, one of which was to 
march on the right direct to Yorktown, and the other to 
to move on the left along the James Eiver by way of War- 
wick Court House to Williamsburg. General Smith's division 
headed the second column. 

Before the army moved as a whole, strong reconnois- 
sances were pushed up the Peninsula from each column. That 
on the west side of the Peninsula was conducted by Smith's 
division, and that on the east by Fitz John Porter's. These 
started at sunrise on the 27th, marching over the same road 
for five miles, and then diverging, Smith's division bore to the 
left toward Warwick Court House, and Porter's towards Big 
Bethel. The day was fine, the roads dry, and the country 
delightful. Eows of locust trees lined the roads, rich groves 
of oak and peach orchards in full bloom diversified the scene, 
and the long lines of troops, extending for miles, their mus- 
kets glittering in the sunlight, made an inspiring spectacle. 

After a march of about ten miles, Hancock's brigade, 


which was leading the division, came upon the enemy's pick- 
ets near Deep Creek. Smith halted, and prepared to en- 
counter the enemy, supposed to be in force. The fences were 
levelled, and artillery thrown into battery. The Vermont 
brigade was deployed in front of the woods through which 
the Confederate pickets had disappeared. The right wing of 
the Second regiment, under Colonel Whiting, was sent by 
General Brooks a mile to the right to hold the road towards 
Big Bethel ; and the left wing under Lieut. Colonel Stannard 
was thrown forward as skirmishers. 1 But as after advancing 
for a mile no enemy was found, the brigade was halted, 
marched back a mile and bivouacked for the night. Next 
day the division returned down the Peninsula and the brigade 
went into camp about two miles above Newport News. Here 
it. remained a week, during which time some heavy rains 
set the camps afloat. The weather, however, was warm and 
the men made ample use of their opportunities for bathing 
in the river, and feasting on Virginia oysters, gathered from 
the shoals. The events of the week were the appearance, on 
the 31st, of the Confederate gunboat Teazer, which came 
down from Eichmond and threw several shells into the 
oamps, and a grand review by General Keyes. 

By the 2d of April, five divisions of the army, making, 
with the artillery reserve, fifty-eight thousand men and one 
hundred guns, had arrived ; and on the 4th, the grand ad- 
vance up the Peninsula began. 

The army moved in two columns, General Keyes's corps 
on the left, with Smith's division in advance. The day was 
clear and warm, and the roadsides were soon strewn with 
discarded blankets and superfluous clothing. A march of ten 
miles to the north brought the division to Young's Mill, and 

1 About this time, the First U. S. Sharpshooters, under Lieut. Colonel 
W. Y. W. Ripley, which led the advance of Porter's division, was engaged 
with the Confederate outpost at Big Bethel. As that regiment comprised a 
Vermont company, Vermonters were at the front of both columns. 


in front of some apparently formidable earthworks crowning 
the crest of a hill, the approach to which was in part barred 
by a mill pond and obstructed by felled trees. The Vermont 
brigade was ordered forward and moved upon and entered 
the works, to find them tenantless, the only hostile force seen 
being a cavalry picket, which exchanged shots with the 
skirmishers by one of which a private of the Fifth Vermont 
was wounded in the shoulder. An orderly sergeant of the 
Second Virginia who had straggled from his regiment was 
captured here by some men of the Third Vermont. The 
enemy had been there in force the night previous, and his 
camp fires were still burning. The brigade camped in and 
about the earthworks and some extensive barracks near 
it. 1 Next morning it resumed the march in a violent thunder 
storm. Warwick Court House, consisting of a dilapidated 
brick court house and jail, a store and two dwellings, was 
passed about noon. Three miles further brought the division 
to a standstill, at the Warwick Kiver, at Lee's Mill a name 
memorable in the history of the campaign and of the brigade, 
and sadly remembered by many a Vermont widow and 
orphan. The advance of the division had here come upon 
the enemy, and found him evidently disposed to dispute 
the passage of the river. The stream showed a considerable 
stretch of water, fringed with swamps, and beyond it were 
formidable earthworks. The Confederate pickets, instead 
of retreating as heretofore, now held their ground on the op- 
posite shore and fired viciously at everything within and 
beyond range ; hostile artillery opened with 12-pound shells 
upon any body of troops that came in sight of them, and 
wounded men began to be taken to the rear. A battery was 
ordered forward and returned the fire ; and the division and 
the corps stopped to consider. Meanwhile, Fitz John 

1 "The enemy's works at Young's Mill are so strong that with 5,000 
men he might have stopped my two divisions there a week." General 
Keyes's Report. 


Porter's division was in like manner brought to a stand in 
front of Yorktown ; and the grand advance became a grand 
halt of the army. 

The barrier before McClellan's army was the Warwick 
river, which rises within a mile of Yorktown and runs across 
the Peninsula to the James, and a formidable line of redoubts- 
and breastworks along its right, or western bank, which the 
Confederate General Magruder had been for two months 
industriously constructing, in part by the labor of 1,000 slaves^ 
The "Warwick road, over which General Keyes's column was- 
marching up the Peninsula, crossed the river by a bridge at 
Lee's Mill. Below that point the river was deep and wide 
enough, and its borders sufficiently swampy, to be practically 
impassable. Above Lee's Mill it ran for miles through 
forests thickest on the eastern bank. It had been previously 
dammed for water-power at Lee's Mill and at Wynn's Mill, 
three miles above, and between these points Magruder had 
built three additional dams, for military purposes. The 
dams were guarded by redoubts, and the redoubts connected 
by a double and in some places treble line of breastworks. 
Magruder's force on the 5th of April was 11,000 men, of whom 
6,000 were stationed at Yorktown and at Gloucester Point, 
across the York river, leaving but 5,000 for manning the 
eight or nine miles of works along the line of Warwick River. 
The obstruction was undoubtedly a serious one ; but if Gen- 
eral Keyes had at once, or within two or three days, made 
a serious effort to push through the line, few can doubt 
that he would have done it with comparative ease, and 
that the result would have been the evacuation of Yorktown 
and of the Peninsula by the enemy. But the Warwick Eiver 
line was a wholly unexpected obstacle to the Union generals, 
whose want of information concerning the defences of York- 
town was as remarkable as their misconception of the strength 
of their opponents. It disarranged McClellan's calculations, 
and he characteristically preferred to wait, rather than to 


strike. 1 President Lincoln urged him, April 6th, to "break 
the enemy's line at once ;" but General McClellan replied 
that he was convinced that the great battle that was to 
decide the existing contest was to be fought there, and that 
he would commence the attack as soon as he could get up his 
siege train, and have McDowell's corps for a flank movement 
from York river. With an opponent of this temper, Magru- 
der's bold front answered every purpose, and the Union army, 
with five men on the ground for every man opposed to them, 
sat down to wait for siege guns and reinforcements. 

In the deployment of General Smith's division along the 
Warwick River, the Vermont brigade was sent to the right 
of the Warwick road through the woods and swamps. The 
men slept on their arms that night, well to the front, and 
those were fortunate who found a dry place to sit or lie on. 
General Smith bivouacked at the foot of a pine tree, near the 
line of his division. Some buildings near the fort in front, 
across the river, took fire and burned brightly during a good 
part of the night ; and there was little sleep in the ranks. 
Before dawn the men could hear distinctly the reveille in the 
enemy's camps; and some of the pickets could even dis- 
tinguish the roll calls of the Confederate companies. During 
the next day, Sunday, April 6th, the skirmishers were blaz- 
ing away at each other, the Confederates in rifle pits and the 
Federals in the edge of the woods, and occasional shots from 
the Confederate artillery crashed through the tree tops over 
the heads of the troops; but no Vermonters were hurt. 
Fatigue duty, in corduroying roads over the spongy soil, in 
which water was found anywhere at the depth of a foot or 
two and on which it was well nigh impossible to move artil- 
lery, now began and formed a good share of the work of the 
army for weeks. On Monday the brigade, having been under 
arms for two days and nights, was moved to the rear and 

1 "To my utter surprise he (McCleilan) permitted day after day to 
elapse without an assault." General Magruder, in his report. 



x. yy>9&*fr'*la 



- 'imciPw 

,.. , asvf ';:-** f :- f , -*\, 


right to a position near the Garrow farm. Here they re- 
mained encamped in the woods, with a few unimportant 
changes of position, for a month, doing their share of picket 
service * and fatigue duty in building roads and batteries, and 
doing also the first serious fighting of the Peninsular cam- 
paign on the Union side. 


The engagement known as that of Lee's Mill, was a 
notable one, as being the first assault on an entrenched line 
made by the army of the Potomac, as an exhibition of re- 
markable bravery in the troops engaged, and as one of the 
bloodiest actions, in proportion to numbers engaged, in which 
the Vermont troops took part during the war. It was also 
one of the most useless wastes of life and most lamentable 
of unimproved opportunities recorded in this history. 

The scene of the action was the Garrow farm, about half 
way between Lee's Mill and Wynn's Mill. Here an extensive 
cleared field, bordered by woods on the right and left and 
rear, opened to the river from the highway leading to York- 
town. In the centre of this open ground stood the three 
chimneys of Mrs. Garrow's house, which had been burned by 

1 The pickets on the opposite sides of the river were at some points 
within speaking distance of each other, keeping themselves sheltered by 
stumps and trees, and sharp words as well as bullets often passed between 
them. The author of "Three Years in the Sixth Corps," tells the follow- 
ing incident of this time i "A good deal of hard talk had passed between 
one of our pickets and one of the 'Johnnies.' Finally the rebel thrust 
his hand beyond his tree, holding in it a bottle; and shaking it challenged 
the Yankee to come and take it. Crack went the Yankee's rifle at the 
hand. 'Ha, ha, why don't you hit it?' Say, what do you think of Bull 
Bun ?' ' How do you like Fort Donelson ?' responded the Yankee. While 
this colloquy was going on, a Yankee number two crept around behind a 
log, and drawing OD the Southerner blazed away at him. The son of 
chivalry clapped his hand to his shoulder and ran off howling. * There, 
you fool,' shouted Yankee number one, I told you that blind man would 
be shooting you, pretty soon.' " 


+- ' 

Magruder two weeks before, and the engagement is known 
in some of the earlier accounts as that of " the Burned Chim- 
neys." From a low ridge through the centre of the opening, 
the ground descended by an easy slope to the sluggish stream 
of Warwick River, running through low and marshy ground. 
At this point Magruder had built one of his dams, styled in 
the Confederate reports " Dam No. 1." It formed a narrow 
causeway across the stream and morass, setting back the 
water for a considerable distance, and was guarded by exten- 
sive intrenchments. Below the dam and near the river's 
edge, on the right bank, ran a line of deep rifle pits. At the 
northern end of the dam was an earthwork, armed with a 24: 
pound howitzer, described in General Smith's reports as 
" the one gun battery." Two hundred yards to the rear of 
this was a redoubt and epaulemsnt, with two guns, a twelve 
and a six pounder, of the Troup artillery, attached to General 
Howell Cobb's command. From the front of the redoubt to 
the river the ground had been cleared ; but woods extended 
behind and on each side of the works. During the week 
preceding the 15th of April, large numbers of men were 
seen strengthening the works, and building breastworks to 
the right and left of them. 

General McClellan did not like this ; and before daylight 
on the morning of April 16th an order was despatched by 
him to General Keyes, directing the latter to " stop the 
enemy's working " at that point. 1 General Keyes passed this 
order along to General Smith, who made extensive disposi- 
tions for the purpose. He decided to use some of his Vermont 
troops to drive away the working parties, with Mott's (Third 
New York) battery. Hancock's brigade, with Ayres's and 
"Wheeler's batteries, he stationed along the road to Lee's 
Mill ; and he held Davidson's brigade in reserve at " the 
Four Corners " in the rear. 

* l General Keyes's report. 


The Vermont regiments moved to the scene of action at 
six o'clock in the morning, General Smith accompanying Gen- 
eral Brooks and directing the dispositions of the troops. Gen- 
eral Brooks sent forward the Third Vermont, Colonel Hyde, 
through the woods on the lower side of the opening, and the 
Fourth Vermont, Colonel Stoughton, through the woods on 
the upper or eastern side, with orders to throw out skirmishers 
to the water's edge below and above the dam, and open fire 
on any working parties of the enemy in sight about their 
works. Mott's battery was posted in the edge of the wooJs 
along the road in the rear of the field, supported by the other 
Vermont regiments, held in reserve a short distance farther 
to the rear. The Fourth regiment was the first to get posi- 
tion. It halted a few rods from the river in the woods, 
and Companies B. and G. were deployed as skirmishers and 
advanced to the swampy edge of the pond above the dam, 
keeping themselves covered by the bushes. It was now 
about half past seven o'clock, and guard-mounting was in 
progress behind the works across the creek, to the tune of 
" Kosa Lee." Colonel Stoughton accompanied the skirmish- 
ers and opened the ball by taking a musket from a man and 
firing it into the nearest embrasure. This action was followed 
by his men, and the enemy returned the fire with artillery, the 
first shell passing over the line of the Fourth, and striking a 
pine tree under which Surgeon Child and Chaplain Plympton 
were sitting, cutting off its top and covering them with frag- 
ments of bark. 

A section of Mott's battery at once went into the open 
ground and replied vigorously. In the meantime the Third 
had got into position on the left of the field. Having a 
longer front to cover, six companies were deployed by 
Colonel Hyde as skirmishers, and advanced to the edge of 
the morass. The skirmishers, with such protection as they 
could get from logs and stumps, opened fire briskly on the 
enemy in the rifle pits across the creek, and received a sharp 


return, by which several men of the Third were wounded. 
During the hour which followed a sensible diminution of the 
enemy's musketry fire was noticed ; but his artillery was still 
actively served from the upper earthworks. A shell struck the 
wheel of one of Mott's pieces, and exploding killed three of 
the cannoneers and wounded more. About this time Colonel 
Smalley of the Fifth regiment was ordered to send a detach- 
ment, composed of the best marksmen in his command, to 
the river front, whence the enemy's guns could be reached at 
shorter range. For this duty ten of the best shots in each 
company were selected, making, with the non-commissioned 
officers who accompanied them, a company of 65 men. 
Captain Dudley of Company E. was placed in command, 
assisted by Lieutenant Spaulding, The detachment, de- 
ployed at five paces, marched down through the open field, 
having two men wounded by fragments of shells as they 
started. After passing the chimneys they received a mus- 
ketry volley from the rifle pits across the creek. Dropping 
to the ground they crept on down the slope to the edge, and 
securing shelter behind inequalities in the ground opened a 
galling fire on the Confederate artillerymen, and on any of 
the enemy who showed themselves above the rifle pits. 
During the forenoon the 24-pounder near the end of the dam 
was disabled by a shot from one of Mott's guns. The other 
rebel guns were kept silent by the sharpshooters. The 
enemy's musketry fire ceased with the exception of an oc- 
casional scattering shot; and General Smith ordered the 
firing on his side to cease. 

The first stage of the action was over. The object indi- 
cated by General McClellan had been accomplished for the 
time being ; and the affair, unless a good deal more was to be 
attempted, might well have ended there. But it was not so to 
end. General Smith, sweeping the enemy's works with his 
glass, discovered, as he thought, that the gun in the upper 
angle of the main redoubt had been replaced by a wooden gun, 


and he could perceive hardly any heads above the parapets. 
About the same time, eleven A. M., Lieutenant B. M. Noyes, 1 
aid-de-camp on General Brooks's staff, came to General 
Brooks to say that he had been reconnoitring on his own 
hook; had crossed the creek below the dam, finding the 
water only about waist deep at the deepest ; and had been 
unmolested within 25 or 50 yards of the enemy's works. 
Furthermore, some wagons had been seen in the rear of his 
works, a circumstance taken to indicate that he was remov- 
ing his stores. Altogether it was not doubted that the Con- 
federates were badly demoralized and preparing to vacate 
their position. 

Shortly before noon General McClellan appeared on the 
ground with an imposing array of staff officers, among whom 
were the two French princes, the CoiLte de Paris and Prince 
de Joinville, and held a conference with General Smith. 2 
Lieutenant Noyes was sent for and reported his observations. 
General McClellan thereupon directed General Smith to 
occupy the opposing works, but by no means to bring on a 
general engagement, and to withdraw his troops if serious 
resistance was encountered. As to details, it was decided, 
upon General Smith's suggestion, that he should place three 
batteries in the open ground at the head of the slope to the 
river, supported by the Yermont brigade in the woods on 
each flank and by Hancock's brigade in the rear, and that 
under the fire of the guns a small force should be thrown 
across the river below the dam to feel of the enemy; and 
that if the works were found empty or slightly defended, a 

1 First Lieutenant, Co. C. , Third Vermont. 

2 "I heard General Smith ask General McClellan what he had better 
do give up the job and go back to camp, or what ? General McClellan 
answered in so low a voice that I did not hear his reply." Statement of 
Colonel Whiting. 


strong column should be pushed across to effect a permanent 
lodgment. 1 

In carrying out this plan Dudley's skirmishers were 
withdrawn into the woods on the left, their withdrawal being 
hastened by a sharp fire from the rebel rifle pits, which indi- 
cated with sufficient distinctness that they were still manned. 
Companies K. and E. of the Fourth relieved Companies B. 
and G. on the skirmish line above the dam. A skirmish line 
of men of the Third, under command of Major Seaver, was 
maintained in the edge of the woods on the river bank below 
the clearing. The Second regiment was sent into the woods 
on the right, in the rear of the Fourth, and the Fifth and 
Sixth regiments were stationed in the woods on the left and 
rear. Colonel Hyde was directed to send two companies 
of the Third regiment, to be supported by two more com- 
panies, across the river, to assault and drive the enemy 
out of the nearest rifle pits. If they succeeded in carrying 
these, they were to announce the fact by cheers and waving 
a white handkerchief, when more troops were to be sent to 
support them, and to attack the earthworks beyond. Colonel 
Hyde took for the attack the four companies, D., F., E. and 
K., not on duty on the skirmish line, and gave the company 
commanders their instructions in the presence of General 
Brooks. Company D., Captain Harrington, and F., Cap- 
tain Pingree, were to lead, and were formed in line near 
the river bank. The men were ordered to unclasp their waist 
belts and hold their cartridge boxes out of the water with one 
hand, and their rifles with the other. All understood that it 
was a doubtful, if not desperate undertaking that was before 

1 General McClellan returned to his headquarters to telegraph to Wash- 
ington, that General Smith had "handsomely silenced the fire of the so- 
called one-gun battery, and forced the enemy to suspend work." To which 
Secretary Stan ton replied : " Good for the first lick. Hurrah for Smith and 
the one-gun battery ! Let us have Yorktown with Magruder and his gang, 
before the 1st of May, and the job will be over." But the " job " did not 
prove to be over. 


them ; but the duty and its possible consequences were ac- 
cepted with the stern resolution of brave men, determined to 
improve to the utmost the first opportunity that had been 
offered to them to show whether or no the men of the North 
could stand fire. 

About three o'clock, the guns of Mott's, Wheeler's and 
Kennedy's batteries opened a vigorous cannonade from the 
crest of the slope. The enemy's artillery responded, but his 
fire soon slackened under the storm of shot and shell, and 
the moment arrived for the infantry to advance. Harring- 
ton, who was the ranking captain, having announced to 
Captain Pingree that a physical infirmity from which he was 
suffering would not permit him to cross the river, Pingree 
promptly gave the order "Forward!" and led the way. The 
men pushed across the stream in good shape, though they 
were under sharp musketry fire from the start and though 
the bottom was in many places covered with a network of 
felled trees, over which many tripped and fell, wetting both 
guns and ammunition. Floundering along in spite of all 
obstacles, however, the two companies reached the opposite 
bank, and dashed straight for the rifle pits, driving out of them 
a force about equal in number to their own. 1 The Confed- 
erates beat a hasty retreat to their works beyond, and the 
Yernionters, cheering loudly, started after them for the next 
parallel; but they were ordered back by Captain Pingree, 
whose orders were to occupy the rifle pits and wait there for 
reinforcements. They accordingly fell back behind the scarp 
of the captured breastwork; and were soon joined by Com- 
panies E. and K., which had followed them at a short 

Corporal Hutchinson of Company D., who had been 
selected to signal the occupancy of the work, by waving a 
handkerchief attached to his bayonet, had fallen, mortally 

1 The rifle pits were occupied at the time by a picket, guard of the Fif- 
teenth North Carolina, and a company^Co. D.) of the Sixteenth Georgia. 


wounded; but the men shouted lustily back across the 
stream, handkerchiefs were waved by several hands, and 
officers and men looked with anxiety for the promised sup- 
ports. Their situation was a precarious one. The enemy 
was visibly rallying, and with no lack of troops. His first 
counter-attack was made by the Fifteenth North Carolina, 
which came down on the double quick from its camp over 
the crest, and charged the rifle pits. It was met by the 
men of the Third with a fire by which its commander, Colonel 
McKinney, was killed, and some forty of his men killed and 
wounded, and retired in extreme disorder. General Cobb 
states that this " confusion " extended down the line of two 
Georgia regiments which had advanced on the right of the 
Fifteenth North Carolina; and had the rest of the Vermont 
brigade now been promptly thrown across the river a per- 
manent occupation of the enemy's works would probably 
have been effected. The rest of Smith's division could then 
have crossed without opposition, and the line of "Warwick 
River would have been pierced. But no supports followed 
the detachment of the Third Vermont. It held its position 
along the breastwork for about half an hour, keeping down 
by a well directed fire the fire from the works on the right 
and front, and at one time, by a gallant dash from the left of 
the line, made by a few men under Lieutenant Buck of Com- 
pany D., once more scattering their assailants. 1 

Meanwhile the enemy, whose troops had been under 
arms all day for miles along the western side of the river, 
gathered in heavy force. By the exertions of General Howell 

1 In a letter written at the time, describing this action, Lieutenant Buck 
said: " We were bound to die rather than retreat without orders. Some- 
thing desperate had got to be done. A charge was our only show, and 
charge we did. We jumped the works and gave a loud yelL The rebels 
supposed a brigade was charging them and ran like sheep. But when 
they saw it was only a ruse, they rallied. I saw whole regiments 
marching against us, and we retreated, never expecting to recross the 
fatal stream." 


Cobb and Colonel Anderson, 1 the demoralized regiments of 
their commands were rallied and others brought up, till no 
less than seven regiments 2 hemmed in the little band of Yer- 
monters. Musketry and artillery now re-opened heavily on 
Pingree at short range from the works on his right and front, 
and two Confederate regiments came down on his left and 
opened a far more fatal tire, from which the scarp of the rifle 
pits afforded no protection. Captain Pingree sent back two 
successive messengers to Colonel Hyde, asking either for 
reinforcements or for permission to retire ; but neither came. 
Later in the service, under similar circumstances, he would 
have exercised the discretion which such a desperate strait 
confers on a commander, and have withdrawn his detach- 
ment ; but now he and his men only knew that their orders 
were to occupy the works and wait for reinforcements ; and 
they waited, though officers and men were dropping by 
scores. Captain Pingree was wounded in the haunch by a 
musket ball early in the fight ; but, though bleeding freely, 
he remained at his post. Soon after Lieutenant Chandler 
of company F. was struck by a ball which cut off three of 
the bones of his hand, and then passed through his thigh. 
Fifteen minutes later, Captain Pingree received a second 
wound from a ball which took off the entire thumb, with 
the metacarpal bone, of his right hand. He was urged by 
officers and men to retire while retreat was possible ; but he 
refused to go till at last a messenger returned with the 
welcome direction from Colonel Hyde to withdraw when 
he gave the order to fall back, and, himself too faint .to 
walk alone, allowed his men to help him back across the 

1 Colonel G. T. Anderson of Georgia, whose brigade subsequently, to 
its sorrow, met the Vermont brigade at Funkstown, Md. 

2 These were the Fifteenth North Carolina, Seventh Georgia, Eighth 
Georgia, Eleventh Georgia, Cobb's (Georgia) Legion, Sixteenth Georgia, 
and Secotid Louisiana. Confederate Reports. 



stream. 1 The rattle of musketry and roar of artillery was too 
continuous at this time to permit orders to be heard for 
any distance ; but those who did not hear saw that a retreat 
was ordered, and in five minutes the line had scattered back 
across the creek, through a shower of musket balls which 
made the water boil as in a hailstorm. Of the 192 brave 
men who crossed the stream, about 100 came back unharmed, 
bearing with them as many as they could of their wounded 
comrades. 2 General Magruder states that the four companies 
of Yermonters were driven out of the rifle pits at the point of 
the bayonet by four Confederate regiments ; 3 but the men of 
the Third saw no hostile bayonets, nor were the rifle pits re- 
occupied for some little time after they left them. They 
were driven out by musketry fire from the front and flank. 
They had made as gallant a dash as was ever attempted ; had 
fairly carried a line of rifle pits ; had dispersed with serious 
loss a Confederate regiment, 500 strong ; 4 and had held 
their position in front of two Confederate brigades for forty 
minutes, and till they were ordered back. More could not 
have been asked of or done by mortal men. 

1 The remarkable fact that Pingree received no mention in the official 
reports, and the almost fatal result of his injuries, have been heretofore 
mentioned, in the regimental history of the Third regiment. 

2 Surgeon E. E. Phelps, in his report to Governor Holbrook, said: 
"The usual percentage of loss in battle is one in every 40; but in this 
action, out of 198 men engaged three in every four were killed or 
wounded." This was putting it rather strong. Co. F., which suffered 
worst, had 27 killed and wounded out of 52 engaged; and the loss of the 
detachment was 45 per cent a sufficiently sad proportion. 

3 "At this moment the Seventh and Eighth Georgia, under Colonels 
Wilson and Lamar ; the left wing of the Sixteenth Georgia under Colonel 
Goode Bryan, and two companies of the Second Louisiana under Colonel 
J. T. Norwood, accompanied by the Fifteenth North Carolina, with fixed 
bayonets charged the rifle pits and drove the enemy from them with great 
slaughter." Report of General J. B. Magruder. 

4 "The regiment [Fifteenth North Carolina] had about 500 men en- 
gaged." Report of Lieutenant Colonel Ihrie, Fifteenth North Carolina. 


The affair again might well have ended here. The recon- 
noissance had been made and had shown that the enemy had 
two or three lines of works and plenty of men to defend 
them. The river was now a greater obstacle than before ; 
for by the closing of dams below or opening sluices above, 
the depth of water had been increased so that the men who 
returned found the water considerably deeper than when they 
went over. The firing, which had now been going on, at 
times with great severity, for about nine hours, had of course 
fully aroused the enemy, and there was every reason to sup- 
pose that he would be massing troops to oppose any further 
demonstration. Such was the fact. Within half an hour 
after the repulse of Pingree's battalion, the three Confederate 
brigades of Cobb, Anderson and Toombs were in position 
behind the screen of woods beyond the river, and General 
McLaws had his entire division under arms within support- 
ing distance. Yet at five o'clock the attack was renewed. 
General Smith speaks of it as another " reconnoissance ;" but 
it was really a fresh attempt to effect a lodgment on the right 
bank of the Warwick. That the Union generals should 
have been unwilling to give the matter up so, is not surpris- 
ing ; but that they should have still sent companies against 
regiments, and battalions against brigades, is astonishing. 
In the new dispositions, a section of a battery was placed in 
the right of the open field, where it could enfilade the rifle 
pits on the other bank, which ran at an angle with the shore, 
and a general cannonade was opened by General McClellan's 
orders all along the front from Lee's Mill to Yorktown, to 
distract the attention of the enemy. Colonel Stoughton of 
the Fourth was then ordered to send four companies across 
the dam to storm the one-gun battery, and Colonel Lord to 
throw four companies of the Sixth across below the dam, 
where the Third had crossed, and again assault the rifle pits. 

Colonel Stoughton selected Companies A., Captain Pratt ; 
F., Captain Brown ; L, Lieutenant Lillie ; and C., Captain 


Atherton, for his storming party and formed them in the 
edge of the woods. He also strengthened his skirmish line 
along the edge of the swamp by two companies, and ordered 
the skirmishers to keep up an incessant fire on the works 
opposite ; and when the seventeen guns of Mott's, Wheeler's 
and Kennedy's batteries again opened from the crest, the 
detachment fixed bayonets and started for the dam, led by 
Colonel Stoughton. But a tremendous outburst of artillery 
and musketry from the earthworks opposite, which met them 
as soon as they came out into the open ground and under 
which men began to fall rapidly, warned General Smith that 
the effort was madness. He despatched Lieutenant Bowen 
of his staff to order Stoughton to withdraw the battalion, and 
it retired, left in front, in good order, with a loss of two men 
killed and twelve wounded, among the latter being Captain 
Atherton, who received a ball in the groin which occasioned 
his retirement from the service. Colonel Stoughton and 
Lieutenant Bowen brought up the rear, carrying between 
them a wounded man, and all the wounded were brought 
back to the woods. 

The movement of the Sixth was more persistent and in- 
volved more serious loss. The regiment moved at double 
quick down through the open field into the timber on the 
left, at the head of the slope to the river. Here the duty of 
charging the rifle pits was committed by Colonel Lord to the 
right wing of his regiment, and he accompanied it to the river 
bank. The battalion, led by Company A., Captain George 
Parker, marched down by the flank through the swampy 
borders of the stream, coming under a sharp fire of mus- 
ketry as soon as it appeared in the open ; and pushed across 
the overflowed bottom land, and through the channel of the 
river, the men holding their cartridge boxes and rifles above 
their heads. As they reached the opposite shore the leading 
companies fronted into line, within twenty yards of the rifle 
pits. The fire from them was incessant ; but the Confederates 


kept themselves so well covered and held their guns at so 
high an angle, that their shots for the most part passed over 
the heads of the men of the Sixth, or few would have returned 
to tell the tale of their charge. As it was, officers and men 
were dropping fast, Captain Reynolds of Company F. fell, 
shot through the body, as he was bringing his company into 
line in the shallow water in front of the breastwork. Cap- 
tain Davenport of Company H. was disabled by a ball 
through the thigh. Lieutenant Bailey of Company D., re- 
ceived a fatal wound. Lieutenant Kinney, commanding Com- 
pany I., was seriously wounded. Three of the five company, 
commanders and some 40 men had fallen ; but the rest 
pressed on. A few had reached the opposing breastwork, 
when the order to fall back came. Colonel Lord, perceiving 
that the advance of the Fourth had failed and that it was 
annihilation for his men to advance or remain under the 
tremendous cross-fire now concentrated on them, gave the 
order to retreat. It was obeyed with a deliberation which 
enabled the survivors to bring off their wounded comrades, 
and rescue the colors of the regiment, which had fallen from 
the hand of the fainting color-bearer. The return was as 
dangerous as the advance ; and before the battalion reached 
cover on the left bank, it had suffered a loss of 23 men killed 
or mortally wounded and 57 others more or less severely 
wounded. It was now near nightfall. The enemy, content 
with the repulse of the troops which had been dashed by 
handsful against his works, and deterred by the fire of the 
batteries which were still booming from the Garrow clearing, 
made no counter demonstration, and the affair of Lee's Mill 
was over. 

General Smith says in his report: "Among the four 
companies of skirmishers of the Third Vermont who crossed 
the creek, there were more individual acts of heroism per- 
formed than I ever read of in a great battle." Such acts were 
not confined to any one regiment. A few of them may be re- 


counted here. Among the men of the Third who charged 
the rifle pits was William Scott, the young man who was 
sentenced to death for sleeping on his post soon after the 
regiment went out, and was pardoned by the President. Scott 
pressed forward where the balls were flying thickest and fell 
with several mortal wounds. His comrades raised him up, 
and heard him with his dying breath amid the shouting and 
din of the fight, lift a prayer for God's blessing on President 
Lincoln, who had given him a chance to show that he was no 
coward or sneak, and not afraid to die. 1 There were not 
many more touching incidents than this, in the war. 

Corporal Hutchinson, to whom Colonel Hyde had handed 
his handkerchief to be waved as a signal when the rifle pits 
were gained, fell mortally wounded half way across the river, 
the ball that killed him passing through the handkerchief. 
Ilis thoughts were solely .on his duty, and exclaiming sadly : 
"I cannot wave the flag after all," he handed the bloody 
handkerchief to a comrade, to do it for him. 

A man of the Third stood in the farther edge of the 
water with a broken thigh, leaning on his gun, and distribut- 
ing his ammunition, which he had kept dry, to those whose 
cartridges had got wet in crossing. The wounded men who 
were able to heJp themselves, almost invariably declined 
help in retiring, and brought back their rifles with them. 

Corporal James Fletcher of Company E., of the Third, 
was on the sick list with a fever, but insisted on going out 

1 Scott was buried in a little grove of holly and wild cherry trees on the 
Garrow Farm, in a spot where some Revolutionary soldier, who fell in the 
siege of Yorktown nearly 80 years before, had found burial, as shown by 
buttons and a belt clasp thrown up in digging Scott's* grave. The chaplain 
prayed earnestly for the President, and on the calm face of the dead his 
comrades thought they saw a look of satisfaction and peace, which would 
have richly rewarded the kind heart of Abraham Lincoln if he could have 
seen it, for his act of mercy. The incident was made known to Mr. 
Lincoln, and in an interview with Adjutant General P. T. Washburn sub- 
sequently, Mr. Lincoln alluded to it with emotion, speaking also in terms 
of high praise of the bravery shown by the Vennonters at Lee's Mill. 


with his company, went through the fight, went back into the 
creek, after recrossing it, to rescue some of the wounded men, 
and then went into hospital "to resume his fever with aggra- 
vation," in the words of an army letter. 

Julian A. Scott, the drummer boy of the same com- 
pany, 1 a lad of 16, went twice across the creek to rescue 
wounded men. Aided by Ephraim Brown he was carrying: 
Private John Backum, who was shot through the lungs, away 
from the scarp of the rifle pits when Brown was disabled by 
a shot through the thigh. Young Scott carried Backum 
across the river on his back, and returning helped Brown 
over, each of them being men larger than himself. Eight 
bullets passed through the clothing of Captain Bennett of 
Company K, of the Third, without making a scratch on his 
skin. Lieutenant Whittemore of Company E., took a gun 
from a disabled soldier and did some effective shooting in 
the rifle pits. Captain D. B. Davenport of Company H., of 
the Sixth, was wounded. His son Henry, drummer boy, a 
youngster of but 11 years, helped his father out of the 
water and to a place of safety, and returning to the stream 
to get some water for him, had the filled cup knocked out of 
his hand by a bullet. Sergeant B. G. Bellows bore the colors 
of the Sixth regiment nearly to the rifle pits. The order 
to fall back had come and had been obeyed by the rest of 
the color guard, when he received a fatal wound. 2 As the 
colors fell from his fainting grasp into the water, they caught 
the eye of Sergeant Edward A. Holton. Shouting to some 
men of his company who were near him to rally on the 

'Subsequently an artist of some name, and the painter of the large 
picture of the battle of Cedar Creek in the Vermont State House. 

2 The case of Sergeant Bellows was one of those not uncommon ones, 
in which almost bloodless injuries proved fatal. The ball struck him 
in the knee, carrying into the joint the cloth of his pantaloons without 
passing through the fabric. He died of this wound in hospital at Burling- 
ton, a month after. He was one of the finest-looking men in the regiment, 
and as brave as he was handsome. 


colors, Holton ran back, rescued the flag, and carried it safely 
back across the stream, while others of the men bore the 
color-bearer back to the southern bank. Holton's act was 
noticed in a general order, and won him a commission. 
The loss of the brigade at Lee's Mill was as follows : 




Second Regiment, 








Fourth " 




Fifth " 



Sixth " 




Total, 44 148 21 

Of the wounded seven fell into the hands of the enemy. 
General Magruder, in his report, states that his loss " did 
not exceed 75 killed and wounded." His troops fought 
almost entirely under cover, and their loss may not have 
largely exceeded that figure. 1 

The conduct of this engagement on the Union side was 
a mystery to the troops engaged in it, at the time, as it has 
been to many students of the war. The Comte de Paris says, 
that the generals who organized the demonstration, failed 
to agree beforehand on the importance it was to assume. 
But as regards the course of the general of the army there 
is no mystery. General McClellan had selected Yorktown 
(where the Confederate works were strongest) as the point 
of main attack. He had in his mind a grand scientific siege 
operation, which should rival some of the scenes in the 
Crimean war, to observe which he was sent abroad by Jeffer- 
son Davis when the latter was secretary of war. He was 
digging parallels and building earthworks, and intended, when 
he got ready, to overwhelm the Confederate forts by a grand 
feu d'enfer, a la Sebastopol, from his 100 and 200 pounders, 

*A nominal list attached to the report of Lieut. Colonel Ihrie, 
Fifteenth North Carolina, shows 12 killed and 31 wounded of that regi- 


which had been dragged with infinite labor from City Point. 
It was not his plan to pierce the "Warwick line and turn 
Yorktown, and he did not wish or expect to do more at Lee's 
Mill than to occupy some works from which it was supposed 
the enemy had been driven. " The moment," says General 
Smith, "I found resistance serious and the numbers opposed 
great, I acted in obedience to the warning instructions of the 
general-in-chief, and withdrew the small numbers of troops 
exposed from under fire." 

General McClellan, after it was over, affected to consider 
the information gained worth more than it cost. That it was 
so may well be doubted ; yet it is certain that the daring 
shown by the Yermonters was not without value to the army l 
or without effect on the enemy. Colonel Levy, of the Second 
Louisiana, who came to the Union lines with a flag of truce 
on an errand relating to the burial of the Union dead, two 
days after, asked what regiment it was that first assaulted 
the rifle pits. He was told that it was a detachment of the 
Third Vermont. "It was lucky for us," he replied, "that 
you did not send over many such detachments." 

Among the various explanations imagined and suggested 
at the time, for the failure to push over supports to the Ver- 
mont troops after they had effected a lodgment across the 
river, was one, which gained wide currency, to the effect that 
General Smith was drunk. A report that he was too much 
intoxicated to ride his horse during the engagement was 
made the subject of a resolution offered in Congress, and of a 
court of inquiry thereupon called for by General Smith. It 
was contradicted by a statement, addressed to the Vermont 
delegation in Congress and signed by most of the field officers 
of the Vermont brigade, including all the colonels, in which 
they pronounced the report "unequivocally false." The 

1 The army correspondents generally agreed with the correspondent of 
the New York World that " the fighting and the bravery of the Vermont 
boys covered the arms of their State with glory." 


court of inquiry was dismissed by General McClellan after 
the first day, on the ground that the evidence offered was 
sufficient to exonerate General Smith without further pro- 
ceedings. The military committee of the U. S. Senate visited 
the camps near Lee's Mill, to investigate the matter, and re- 
ported the charge against General Smith to be without 
foundation ; and the matter passed from the public mind. 

During the night of the 16th of April and nights follow- 
ing, strong earthworks to shelter the Union batteries were 
thrown up on the Garrow farm, in part by the work of the Ver- 
mont troops ; but beyond occasional artillery firing by night 
and day, and frequent exchange of shots across the creek by 
the skirmishers and sharp shooters on the two sides, no 
further hostilities followed at that point. Had Magruder had 
more men there would probably have been some fighting on 
the south side of Warwick River. 1 

On Saturday, the 19th, a flag of truce was hoisted by the 
Confederates, and Colonel Levy of the Second Louisiana, 
met Captain Currie of General Smith's staff on the dam, with 
a proposal to arrange for the removal of the "Union dead, 
which was gladly accepted, and the Confederates soon 
brought over 29 dead bodies, blackened by decay and de- 
spoiled of shoes, buttons and valuables. 9 The remainder 
of the dead Vermonters they said, had been buried with their 
own, by mistake, in the night. The bodies received were 
buried among the pines on the Garrow farm. 

During the four days after the 16th, the seriously wounded 

1 "All the reinforcements which were on the way to me had not yet 
joined me, so that I was unable to follow up the action of April 16th by 
any decisive step." General Magruder's report. 

2 " I recovered to-day the bodies of our men killed on the 16th 29 in 
number. The enemy have four wounded in their hands, whom 1 will 
endeavor to recover to-morrow by offering four well men in exchange. 
The officer bearing the flag acknowledged a severe loss on their part, and 
spoke in high terms of the conduct of our men." McClellan to Secretary 
Stanton, April 19, 1862. 


Vermonters were taken in ambulances to Cheeseman's 
Landing and Ship Point on the York River, and thence 
by boats to Fortress Monroe. Their condition aroused re- 
markable concern on the part of both the National and State 
authorities. Secretary Stanton telegraphed Governor Hoi- 
brook that they would be sent home if suitable hospital 
accommodations could be provided for them in Vermont. 
The only hospital building in the State at that time, was the 
U. S. Marine hospital at Burlington, built by the Government 
in President Pierce's administration, which had stood empty 
since it was erected. Adj't General Washburn went to 
Washington and arranged to have this building turned over 
to the State for an army hospital, and to have the wounded 
Yermonters sent thither. General Washburn and Quarter- 
master General Davis thereupon went to Fortress Monroe, 
and brought thence 115 wounded men to New York. They 
were met there by ex- Adj't General Baxter and Colonels S. M. 
Waite and B. B. Smalley of the governor's staff, and a corps 
of five surgeons, and, with the exception of twelve who were 
left in hospital at New York, too dangerously hurt to bear 
further transportation, were brought with the tenderest care 
to Yermont. Twenty-four were taken to Brattleboro and the 
rest to Burlington, where under the skillful care of Dr. S. W. 
Thayer, who had been appointed hospital surgeon, most of 
them rapidly gained strength and health. This arrangement 
was expanded into a general one, under which many wounded 
and sick Yermonters were taken to Yermont; and, under 
the superior professional treatment they received, and in the 
good air of their native State, a remarkably high ratio of 
recoveries was established; but though this arrangement 
worked well in Yermont, it was found to occasion some 
friction when adopted, as it was subsequently, by some other 
States, and it was rescinded by the government. 

Frequent night alarms which called the regiments into 
line ; constant sharp shooting on the picket line ; plenty of 


fatigue duty on the breastworks ; and two reconnoissances, 
in one of which the Second lost three men killed, and in the 
other Lieutenant Nevins of the Sixth received a wound from 
which he died, were the chief events and occupations of the 
last two weeks of April. 

A general cannonade from the enemy's works on the 
night of the 3d of May, called the brigade and the army to 
arms, in anticipation of an attack. The shells flew thickly 
over and into the camps ; but no serious damage was done 
and no attack was received. The morning disclosed the 
meaning of the proceeding. General McClellan having almost 
made ready to open his siege batteries, the enemy was quite 
ready to leave the line of the Warwick. Having secured a 
month of most valuable time, during which the defences of 
Richmond were vastly strengthened and the first conscription 
act, which heavily increased the military strength of the 
Confederacy, was passed, General Johnston once more sur- 
prised the Union generals by a sudden and successful retreat. 
Two contrabands brought the first word of it, at daylight on 
the 4th, into the Union lines. The Fifth Vermont was at 
once sent across the dam, to occupy the abandoned works ; 
and at eight o'clock the brigade, in place of the usual Sunday 
morning inspections, was in motion to the front, with two 
day's rations in the haversacks. Smith's division crossed 
on the dam and pushed forward by the road from Lee's Mill 
to Williamsburg, while Hooker's division marched on the 
right by the nearly parallel road from Yorktown to the same 
point. Hancock led the column of Smith's division and 
Brook's Vermont brigade marched next. The two columns 
rather curiously changed roads during the day. Though 
Hooker had the shorter road, Smith moved fastest. About 
noon Hancock's advance was stopped by the burning of a 
bridge over a branch of Skiff Creek, across which his road lay. 
Having halted, General Hancock sent forward four companies 
of the Second Vermont, under Lieut. Colonel Stannard, which 


extinguished the fire. 1 But the bridge was not passable for 
artillery, and the division, by order of General Sumner, com- 
manding both columns, crossed through the intervening fields 
to the road on the right. Smith reached this road before 
Hooker had come up, and, keeping on, obliged the latter to 
halt, while he (Smith) filed into the road in advance of him. 
The Yermonters were now leading, and gave a specimen of 
the marching quality by which they came to be distinguished 
in after days. The column was to halt near the Halfway 
House, but the head of it had passed that point some three 
miles, when General Keyes, who was following Smith with 
his two other divisions, learned the fact. Calling an orderly 
he said : " If your horse has bottom enough to catch ur> 
with that Vermont brigade, I want you to overtake them and 
order a halt. Tell them we are not going to Bichrnond to- 

Hooker followed Smith for two or three miles and then, 
impatient at having to follow where he expected to lead, he 
obtained permission to cross to the left road and went for- 
ward by that. Smith's advance overtook the cavalry who 
were pressing the enemy's rear, and sunset found his division 
halted in front of the line of redoubts 2 southeast of Wil- 
liamsburg, which had been built for a defensive line by 
Magruder some months before. The rear guard of Johnston's 

1 " Finding the enemy had fired a bridge on Skiff Creek, on the direct 
road to Williamsburg, I sent first a party of cavalry to extinguish the fire if 
possible. They were fired upon by the enemy and retired after exchanging 
shots. I then ordered four companies of the Second Vermont, under Lieut. 
Colonel Stannard, to the burning bridge, and to extinguish the flames, which 
duty they performed, first driving the enemy away, and saving the sleepers 
of the bridge." Report of General HancocK. 

The other six companies of the Second, under Colonel Whiting, had 
been detached from the brigade in the forenoon, to reconnoitre along a 
road leading to the left, and did not rejoin the brigade till the next morning. 

8 There were ten of these, with four epaulements and other minor works, 
extending across the Peninsula, here contracted to a width of about five 


army occupied some of these, while the main body kept on 
to Richmond. In front of two of these redoubts, command- 
ing the approach to Williamsburg by the Yorktown road, 
General Smith, under the orders of General Sumner, formed 
his command for an assault, with Hancock's brigade de- 
ployed in front and the Vermont brigade in double column 
for support. But the lateness of the hour and the character 
of the ground, which was covered with a tangled undergrowth 
between the trees, made an advance well nigh impossible, 
and the troops bivouacked where they stood. Hooker 
marched till eleven o'clock, and then halted for the night, 
half a mile from the enemy's line. The night was rainy, and 
sleep contended with serious discomforts and anxieties for 
possession of the weary soldiers. 


Next day, May 5th, the planless and unsatisfactory battle 
of Williamsburg was fought. It opened in front of Fort 
Magruder the strongest of the Confederate works on the 
left, where General Hooker, without specific orders and 
without concert with the other generals, attacked at seven in 
the morning. He silenced Fort Magruder, but soon found 
himself on the defensive. Johnston, fairly overhauled and 
in danger of losing his trains, had turned to fight. He sent 
back Longstreet to help his rear guard, and by nine o'clock 
Longstreet's division was pressing in masses on Hooker's 
line. It became very warm for Hooker ; but he fought till 
noon without the reinforcements which he had called for, 
and without any effective diversion in any other part of the 
field. 1 

General Smith had expected to attack the works before 

1 ' ' The fact is that when Hooker began his attack, Sumner, Heintzle- 
man and Keyes had adopted another plan of action, irrespective of 
Hooker. There was no concerted movement." General A. S. Webb. 


him at daylight and had his division in line as soon as it 
was light enough to move ; but he was held back by General 
Sumner, and the occupation of the division during the fore- 
noon, was to stand in the rain, which poured heavily, and 
listen to the battle which Hooker was fighting hardly half a 
mile away. Yet all of the Yermonters were not idle ; and 
an important bit of service performed by some of them led 
to Hancock's movement on the right, which proved the de- 
cisive movement of the battle. General Smith in the morn- 
ing had sent Captain Stewart of the U. S. Engineers, to 
reconnoitre the works in front of his position. Stewart found 
them protected by a ravine and offering no practicable point 
of attack ; but he learned from a colored man that two miles 
to the right there was a road, crossing by a dam ' the stream 
which flowed through the ravine, and leading to the rear of 
the redoubts. He reported this to General Smith, who sent 
Captain Currie of his staff with four companies of the Fourth 
Vermont to verify the information. At half past ten o'clock 
Captain Currie returned and reported that they had not 
only found a practicable crossing for artillery ; but that a re- 
doubt on the other side, built to command the crossing, was 
to all appearance unoccupied. Smith sent Currie to report 
these facts to General Sumner, who could hardly believe the 
latter circumstance ; but decided to take advantage of it. 
By his order General Smith sent Hancock, who held the 
right of his division, to occupy the undefended works and 
advance from them if he thought prudent. Hancock started 
at once with three regiments of his own brigade and two of 
Davidson's, Wheeler's battery and a company of cavalry ; 
crossed the dam ; and at noon had reached and occupied, un- 
molested, not only the work nearest the dam but a stronger 
redoubt half a mile in advance of it, 2 from which open ground 

1 Known as "Cub Dam." 

3 Mr. Swinton, the historian, says that General Johnston informed him 
after the close of the war, that neither he or any of the generals with him 


extended to the redoubt in front of Smith's position. Hancock 
had in fact turned the flank of the enemy's line, and had 
a fine position from which to attack the two redoubts between 
him and Fort Magruder. Sending to General Smith for a 
brigade to protect his rear, he prepared to assault these 
redoubts, which were occupied in force by the enemy. 

In the meantime, General Smith had been directed by 
General Sumner to send one of his brigades to the assistance 
of General Hooker on the left, and had ordered the Yermont 
brigade forward for the purpose; but receiving Hancock's 
report of the state of things on the right, and deeming that 
an attack upon the enemy's left would be the most effectual 
means of helping Hooker, General Smith procured a change 
of the order and permission to take his two remaining 
brigades to reinforce Hancock. He had drawn them out 
into the road and was just starting with them, when General 
Sumner, becoming apprehensive for his centre, reversed the 
order, and called Smith back into line to resist an appre- 
hended attack on the ground he then occupied. From their 
position in the edge of the woods, some of the Vermonters 
could see the operations to their right and front across the 
ravine. They saw Hancock's skirmishers, aided by a few- 
shells from Wheeler's battery, drive the enemy from the re- 
doubt nearest him, which, however, he hesitated to occupy 
till his supports should arrive. They saw, too, that Hancock 
was in some danger. General Johnston, alarmed at finding a 
formidable force on his flank, had sent thither Generals Early 
and D. H. Hill, with two brigades. These could be plainly 
seen reoccupying the works in front of Hancock, and then 
deploying for an assault on his position. Some of the enemy 

were aware of the existence of these redoubts on his extreme left, till after 
Hancock had occupied them. Replying in 1885 to a similar statement 
made by Jefferson Davis in his ''Rise and Fall of the Confederacy," 
General Johnston says that "the positions of the redoubts, were all 
known;" but that "a rear guard distributed in all of them, could have held 
none of them." 


were massed so near Smith that four guns of Mott's battery 
were ordered forward, and opened fire on them with obvious 
effect. Again and again General Smith asked permission to 
go to Hancock's aid. Twice General Brooks was directed to 
take his brigade to support Hancock, and once the brigade 
reached Cub Dam on the way thither, only to be ordered back. 
General Brooks swore vigorously at being sent back from 
the right where they were most wanted to the centre where 
they were not needed at all ; but had no option but to obey. 
Sumner finally not only refused to permit Smith to send any 
more troops to the right, but ordered Hancock back to his 
" first position." The latter chose to understand this to mean 
the works he had first occupied across the dam. He took 
his time about retiring, and turned before he had gone far, 
to await Early's attack. This was made while the Vermont 
brigade was marching back from Cub Dam, and made unwel- 
come music in the ears of the Vermonters, who were burning 
for a chance to avenge Lee's Mill. Early threw forward 
four regiments, numbering about 2,000 men, against Hancock 
who had 1,500 in line on the crest. The latter waited till 
Early's lines were within short range, and then received them 
with a savage fire, under which they recoiled in confusion, 
leaving a row of dead and dying men which marked the limit 
of their advance. Early was wounded, and his repulse was 
completed by a charge in which a Confederate colonel and 
150 of his men were taken prisoners. Hill endeavored to 
support Early ; but his men would not face the fire from the 
crest, and the whole force fell back, having lost 500 men. 

As Hill's regiments were forming for the second attack, 
General Hancock, not knowing how serious it might prove, 
despatched Captain Currie, who had remained with him, to 
hurry up the reinforcements he had been waiting for. Currie 
overtook the rear of Brooks's brigade, marching back instead 
of forward. The Third Yermont was at the rear of the 
column, and Colonel Hyde, at Currie's request, faced his 



regiment about and took it back to help Hancock, while 
Currie dashed on to find General Smith and get more rein- 
forcements. The cheering from the front told the men of the 
Third that something had happened there and they hurried 
up, at double quick, to find that Hancock had repulsed his 
assailants, and that the enemy in front of him had retired 
to the cover of the woods. 

It was now six o'clock. Meantime Kearney's division of 
the Third corps had relieved Hooker on the left. General 
McClellan had arrived on the field, and General Smith by 
his order joined Hancock with most of his division. There 
was no more fighting, however. After nightfall Johnston 
withdrew and continued his retreat to Richmond. 

In this battle of Williamsburg, Hooker and Kearney lost 
2,200 men, killed, wounded and missing, and five guns, while 
Longstreet reported his loss at 1,560 killed, wounded and 
captured. Had Sumner permitted Smith to take his division, 
or even to send the Yermont brigade, to the support of Han- 
cock, the latter would have moved up to the Confederate 
centre, taken Fort Magruder in the reverse, and changed 
the preponderance of loss heavily to the other side. 

Though the shells from a Confederate battery, replying 
to Mott's guns, flew over and around the lines of the Vermont 
brigade in the afternoon, it sustained no loss. The Yermont 
troops, with the exception of the Third regiment, which was 
with Hancock, remained in their lines on the centre that night 
drenched with rain and without fires. Next morning the sun 
rose clear and bright ; the rain and the rebels had gone ; and 
the brigade, in pursuance of orders received the night 
before, marched round to the scene of Hancock's fight, pass- 
ing on the way one of the forts he had taken, now filled 
with Confederate prisoners, many of them wounded. The 
Yermont surgeons busied themselves in the care of these, 
and performed most, of the amputations required, as the 
Confederate surgeons sent back to care for their men were 


comparatively inexperienced practitioners. The Yermont 
boys built fires for their foes, dried their clothes, covered them 
with U. S. blankets, and would have shared rations with 
them if they had had any. 

The battle of Williamsburg was fought on Monday. How 
tardily the pursuit of the enemy was conducted by Mc- 
Clellan, is matter of history. It was not till Friday that 
Smith's division started on up the Peninsula. The Yermont 
brigade marched 14 miles that day and 12 the next. On Sun- 
day, the llth, the brigade rested near New Kent Court House, 
and next day marched to the Pamunkey River at Cumberland 
Landing. It moved thence next day to White House, the 
head of navigation on the river and base of supply for the 
army. Here the brigade remained four days, encamped on 
the ancient Custis Plantation, the property of General 
Fitzhugh Lee, near the mansion, from which the place takes 
its name, in which General Washington was married to Mrs. 
Custis. Moving thence on the 19th, it marched by way of 
Tunstall's Station to the left bank of the Chickahominy near 
New Bridge, ten miles from Richmond to the northeast. 
The march from Williamsburg was much of it through a fine 
country, now beautiful in the luxuriant growth of early sum- 
mer. The weather was warm, though much of it was rainy. 
The march was made by easy stages of from five to eight 
miles a day. The long columns of infantry and artillery, 
the endless trains of army wagons, the camps covering all the 
country where the army halted, the waters of the Pamunkey 
packed with steamers and other vessels laden with army 
stores, offered an imposing spectacle. Strict orders to res- 
pect private property were given on the march ; and they 
were obeyed to the extent of permitting a Yirginia farmer 
to station his negro servant at a well and sell water to tho 
thirsty soldiers at two cents a glass ! Later in the war they 
did things somewhat differently. 



Organization of the Sixth Corps Movement to the front of Richmond 
Battle of Fair Oaks Crossing the Chickahominy to Golding's Farm 
Swamp fever and hard duty Gaines's Mill and Golding's Farm 
Retreat of the Army from Richmond The stand of the rear guard at 
Savage's Station Fighting of the Vermont brigade The Fifth sustains 
the heaviest loss in killed and wounded ever suffered by a Vermont 
regiment Casualties of the brigade The retreat resumed Affair at 
White Oak Swamp Terrific Confederate cannonade Firmness of the 
Vermont troops The brigade at Malvern Hill The terrible march to 
Harrison's Landing The bivouac in the mud Return to Fortress 
Monroe and to Alexandria. 

At White House the Sixth corps of the Army of the 
Potomac, with which the Vermont brigade was thencefor- 
ward connected, and to whose fame the Ver- 
May 16, 1862. 

monters have been wont to flatter themselves 

that they contributed something, was organized. It was 
formed from Franklin's division of McDowell's corps, which 
joined the army at White House, having come up by water 
from Yorktown, and Smith's division of Keyes's (Fourth) 
corps. 1 General Franklin was placed in command of it, 
General Slocum succeeding Franklin in command of the 
First division. It was a notably good body of troops, from 
the first. Its first division consisted of General Phil Kear- 
ney's old brigade of New Jersey troops, now commanded 

'The Fifth corps was organized at the same time, and Fitz John 
Porter assigned to its command. These were at first styled " Provisional" 


by Colonel George W. Taylor ; Slocum's brigade, now com- 
manded by Colonel J. J. Bartlett ; and Newton's brigade. 1 
The Second division consisted of Hancock's brigade, Brooks's 
Vermont brigade, and Davidson's brigade. 3 The division 
and brigade commanders were almost all West Point gradu- 
ates and accomplished soldiers, and no less than five of them 
rose to be corps commanders. It has bean said of the Sixth 
corps that " no other body of troops ever made for itself so 
proud a record. No corps, either in our own army or in 
any other, ever met the enemy so frequently in general bat- 
tle. Never were either of its two divisions put to rout ; and 
in almost all its encounters the corps held the field as 
victors." 3 

On the 22d of May the Sixth corps was holding the right 
of the army, and the Vermont brigade was encamped on a low 
pine ridge near Gaines's Mill, 4 about eight miles in a straight 
line from Richmond. The country about them was diver- 
sified with woodland and open fields around the houses of 
Virginia farmers and the mansions of planters, who were 
still holding their slaves in considerable numbers, and 
were enjoying the protection of Union guards stationed 
around their houses while they were asserting the right 
of secession and predicting the success of the Confederate 
arms. Many of these houses, however, were soon taken 

1 Kearney's brigade consisted of the First, Second, Third and Fourth 
New Jersey; Slocum's of the Sixteenth and Twenty-seventh New York, 
Fifth Maine and Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania ; Newton's of the Eighteenth, 
Thirty-first and Thirty-second New York and Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania. 

2 Hancock's brigade consisted of the Fifth Wisconsin, Ninety-ninth 
Pennsylvania, Forty-third New York and Sixth Maine ; Davidson's, of 
the Thirty -third, Seventy-seventh and Forty-ninth New York and Seventh 

3 Surgeon Stevens's " Three Years in the Sixth Corps." 

4 A Vermont soldier was running the mill, and grinding wheat brought 
in by the foragers, for the troops. 


for hospitals, and filled with sick and wounded soldiers of 
both armies. Among those so used was "Liberty Hall," 
the birthplace of Patrick Henry, which stood in the rear of 
the position of Franklin's corps. The health of the com- 
mand was better than it had been in the swampy camps on 
Warwick River, and the spirits of the men were high. 
Things generally seemed to be looking well for the cause of 
the government. Since the first of the year Burnside had 
occupied Eoanoke Island and Newbern, N. C., on the coast. 
The battle of Shiloh had been fought and was claimed as a 
Union victory. New Orleans and Island No. 10 had been 
taken, and the control of the Mississippi was lost to the 
Confederacy. Norfolk the original evacuation of which 
remains the most astonishing and unnecessary event of the 
war, in the view of both North and South had been reoc- 
cupied by the forces of the Union. In various minor 
encounters the advantage was claimed for the Federals. 
General Banks's troubles in the Shenandoah Valley, which 
afforded such solemn experience for our Vermont cavalry, 
were impending, but had not yet begun. The confidence of 
the troops in McClellan and in themselves was unbounded. 
They were before Eichmond with an army which seemed to 
them irresistible; and for them it was a mere question of 
time whether they should march into the rebel capital and 
end the war now, or a few days later. For the Vermont 
troops, moreover, the paymaster, Major Freeman, was on 
hand, and money plenty. Altogether it was a cheerful 

On the 24th the brigade was moved forward a mile or 
more, and encamped on the farm of Dr. Gaines, about three 
quarters of a mile from the Chickahominy, on the opposite 
shore of which the videttes of the enemy were visible with a 
glass. The river and the streams running into it were rising 
with recent heavy thunder showers, and the fatigue duty, in 
making roads, at which many of the troops were set, was 


pretty arduous. 1 The booming of artillery, used in the skir- 
mishes at the front as McClellan was advancing his lines- 
toward Richmond, was a frequent sound, and on the 31st it 
deepened into a steady roar, heard from ten o'clock till dark,, 
from the field, four to five miles away across the Chicka- 
hominy, where the first general engagement of the Peninsular 
campaign, called by northern historians the battle of Fair 
Oaks, and by the southerners Seven Pines, was fought. 

In this battle the Third and Fourth corps of the Army 
of the Potomac, which had crossed the Chickahominy several 
days before and advanced within six miles of Richmond, 
were attacked by General Joe Johnston, with the larger part 
of his army, in a sturdy effort to cut them to pieces while 
separated by the river from the rest of the army. But Keyes 
and Heintzleman, whose men " rose from beds of mud to fight 
amid the pelting of the storm," 2 reinforced by Sumner, made 
a good fight against superior numbers, and at nightfall still 
held their ground on the right bank of the Chickahominy. 
The battle was renewed the next morning, and after two or 
three hours ended in the withdrawal of the Confederates into 
their lines around Eichmond, while the Union commanders 
re-established the portions of their lines that had been lost 
the previous day. The attempt to drive the left wing of the 
army into the river had failed, and had cost the Confederates 
over 5,000 men killed and wounded, among the latter being 
General J. E. Johnston, who was wounded in the shoulder 

1 "A marked evidence of the spirit of our volunteer free soldiery was 
offered yesterday. Part of our regiment was sent out to bridge over water 
courses and corduroy the road to prepare it for the passage of artillery. 
Long pine sticks had to be carried by hand many of them over half a mile, 
and then floated to where needed. Many stripped off their clothes ; others 
plunged in with them on ; all working nobly, till three deep and swift 
channels were spanned and the low places corduroyed. Others labored 
still more severely and did not come in till midnight. Things now seem 
nearly ready for our passage over the river, so that we may move "on ta 
Richmond." Letter from the camp of the Second Vermont. 

2 General Keyes's report. 


by a Union bullet and struck from his horse by a shell. The 
Union loss was nearly as great. 

While this struggle of the 31st was in progress, the 
Vermonters, with the rest of General Smith's division, were 
under orders to be ready to take arms at a moment's notice. 
With intensest interest they watched the signs of the con- 
flict. The roar of artillery drew nearer till during the 
afternoon the added roll of musketry could be distinguished 
and for a while after dark the flashes of cannon and explod- 
ing shells were visible. There was little sleep for any of the 
troops that night. The men of the Vermont brigade were 
under arms most of the night, and before light next morning 
they started with three days' rations and sixty rounds of am- 
munition, to cross the river at New Bridge, and take part in 
that day's fight. But the high water in the river interfered 
with the construction of the pontoon bridge which was to 
replace one burned by the enemy, and the brigade waited 
on the bank till ten o'clock A. M., when word came that its 
help was not needed, and it marched back to camp, leaving 
the Sixth regiment to guard the bridge. An hour later the 
regiments were called into line without arms, to hear the 
news of the repulse of the enemy, which was announced by 
the colonels and received by the men with rousing cheers. 
Accounts from the other side show that there was no cheer- 
ing in Richmond that day; and that as the extent of the 
Confederate losses became known a feeling of apprehension 
deepened almost into panic that night in the Confederate 

The pause of fighting following the battle of Fair Oaks, 
was improved by McClellan to push his lines still nearer to 
Richmond. As part of this movement, Franklin's corps 
crossed the river and was posted on the right of the Union 
lines, leaving only Porter's corps on the left bank. 

Moving with the Sixth corps, Smith's division packed 
knapsacks at three o'clock on the morning of June 5th, and 


marching down the river four miles, crossed at Sumner's upper 
bridge, known as the " Grapevine Bridge," and moved up on 
the right bank to a hill near Golding's house, about a mile 
north of Pair Oaks, and half a mile south of the river. Here 
the Vermont brigade remained for nineteen days. It was its 
nearest approach to Richmond in a body, though a number 
of its members entered the city later, without arms, at vari- 
ous times during the war. The situation was an exciting 
one, and the duty severe. Stray shots and shells from the 
Confederate batteries on the hills in front often fell near the 
camps ; and the opposing lines were so near that one day 
two men were wounded while buying things at a sutler's 
cart, in the camp of the Fifth Vermont, by a Confederate 
sharpshooter perched in a tree top. 1 There was a good deal 
of digging going on, much of it at night, in the construction 
of breastworks and redoubts, of which the Vermonters had 
all they wanted. The picket duty was severe ; and the appre- 
hensions of attack such that the regiments stood to arms at 
three o'clock every morning, remaining in line till after sun- 
rise. This continued till it became evident from the increas- 
ing sick list that want of sufficient rest was telling on the 
health of the men, when orders were so changed that but one 
regiment in each brigade took arms before daylight. Still 
the sickness increased, due to the drenching of clothing, 
blankets and provisions by the frequent rains, and the malaria 
from the swamps and overflowed bottom lands, which grew 
more deadly as the hot season advanced. The camps and 
hospitals became filled with sick men, and the hospital 
steamers plied constantly from the White House to Wash- 
ington and Philadelphia, bearing thousands of victims of 
" Chickahominy fever." This prevailed in both armies, 
though the Northerners naturally suffered most. 

1 One of these, Sergeant Bartholomew, Co. E., Fourth Vermont, was 
dangerously wounded in the abdomen. The man who shot him was 
dropped later in the day by a marksman of the Fourth Vermont. 


For three weeks the two armies now looked each other 
in the face. General R. E. Lee had succeeded to the com- 
mand of the Confederate army, and it was reinforced till 
it numbered upwards of eighty thousand men. General 
McClellan was telegraphing daily to Washington that he was 
almost ready to take Richmond ; but it was the Confederate 
commander who forced the fighting, when it was renewed. 
General J. E. B. Stuart was first sent out with his troopers 
to operate on McClellan's communications, and by his fam- 
ous raid around the Union army, contributed to delay action 
on the part of the latter, while Stonewall Jackson with his 
army of 20,000 men, was brought down from the Shenandoah 
Valley with the utmost secrecy and despatch. 

On the 25th of June, McClellan advanced his left wing, 
which pressed back the Confederate lines for nearly a mile. 
This was McClellan's last offensive movement. On that day 
Jackson was but 12 miles from Richmond, and General Lee 
and he had met in person and arranged for a heavy blow for 
the relief of Richmond by a concerted attack on the Fifth 
corps, still on the north bank of the Chickahominy. Jackson 
expected to be within striking distance of Porter the next 
day. He did not get along as fast as he intended to, how- 
ever, and did no fighting that day. But A. P. Hill, who was 
to co-operate with him, marching from Richmond with his 
division, crossed the Chickahominy that day, the 26th, at 
Meadow Bridge, above Mechanicsville, and attacked the 
portion of Porter's command (McCall's division) which was 
guarding the left bank and bridges below. Hill was driven 
back by McCall, with a loss, as stated by General Long- 
street, of 3,000 or 4,000 men, while McCall's loss was but as 
many hundreds. A considerable part of this day's fighting 
was visible from the position of Smith's division, and the 
Yermonters, who had for a day or two worn their equipments 
constantly and kept their arms stacked in readiness for a sud- 
den call, were put under arms with the rest of the division 


in expectation of a movement. That night, in anticipation 
of the arrival of Lieut. Colonel Getty l with some reserve 
batteries of 30-pound Parrotts and siege guns which had 
been attached to Smith's division, General Smith threw 
up a redoubt, known as "Fort Lincoln," on a crest in front of 
his position. The Second Vermont was on duty all night, as 
a guard to the working parties ; and next day the heavy guns 
were mounted in the work, under the direction of Captain 
E. K. Platt, General Franklin's chief of artillery. 

That night, the arrival of Jackson's army on his right 
and rear having been fully learned by General McClellan, 
he decided to retreat to the James Eiver, leaving Porter one 
day more on the north bank to hold back Jackson and cover 
the start of the Union army. 

Next day, Friday, June 27th, the bloody and memorable 
battle of Gaines's Mill was fought. The story of that day, 
on which, through six hours of desperate fighting and at fear- 
ful cost, the Fifth corps, of 17,000 men, reinforced late in the 
afternoon by Slocum's division of Franklin's corps, held the 
position on the north bank against the Confederate divisions 
of Jackson, Longstreet, the two Hills and Whiting, 2 55,000 
strong, cannot be told here. In this battle General Smith 
took a direct part with his heavy artillery. From Fort 
Lincoln the Confederate columns advancing over Gaines's 
Hill across the river two miles away, to attack Porter's left, 
were distinctly visible, and Smith opened and maintained for 
several hours a fire on them, which though at long range, 
was a serious annoyance and damage to the enemy, General 
Pryor's brigade of Longstreet's division especially suffering 

1 Afterwards the gallant division commander under whom the Vermont 
brigade won some of its brightest laurels. 

2 This Whiting was a cousin of Colonel Whiting of the Second Ver- 
mont. He was a Northern man and a graduate of West Point, who, 
having married a Southern wife, took his sword to the service of the 


under it. 1 Of this first of the seven day's battles, the engage- 
ment inscribed on the Vermont standards under the title of 
"Golding's Farm," 3 was an episode. 


To understand this action, it is to be noted that while two 
thirds of the Confederate army assaulted Porter on the north 
side of the river, it was the part of the other third, under 
Magruder, to distract the attention of the greater part of 
the Union army, on the south side, and thus to prevent 
the sending of help to Porter. To this end, Magruder made 
successive demonstrations against the Union lines in front 
of him, with ostentatious movements of troops and frequent 
furious cannonades. A considerable portion of these demon- 
strations were made against the position of Franklin's corps, 
whose lines were held throughout the day by Smith's divi- 
sion, the other division (Slocum's) having been sent across 
the river. Magruder's batteries opened from the crests in 
front of Smith about noon, and Smith's guns replied. The 
cannonading was kept up during the afternoon, and at times 
the shells fell pretty thickly in the camps of the Vermont 
regiments, killing a man of the Fifth, and wounding three 
others. In the latter part of the afternoon, having discovered, 
probably, that half of Franklin's corps had been sent across 
the river, General Magruder ordered General Jones, com- 
manding a division, to " feel of the enemy " in his front with 
strong pickets, and to " follow up any advantage that might 
offer." General Robert Toombs was directed by Jones to 
do the " feeling," with his brigade of Georgia troops. The 

1 General Pryor says in his Report that he deployed his brigade "under 
a galling tire from the enemy's battery over the river;" and that his troops 
'suffered severely from the battery across the Chickahominy." 

3 Erroneously dated in the lists of battles in Adj't General Washburn's 
Report for 1866, as occurring on the 26th. 


pressure came on Hancock's brigade, which was manning 
the lines in front, supported by a portion of the Yermont 
brigade ; and a sharp engagement, lasting two hours, follow- 
ed. Toombs did not find his task a pleasant one, nor did 
he obtain any advantage to follow up, and with the repulse 
of his demonstration the operations of the day on the south 
side of the Chickahominy ended. 

Taking up this affair in detail, with reference to the part 
taken in it by Vermont troops, it was about three o'clock 
in the afternoon when the enemy's movements 
in front of Smith became threatening. General 
Brooks, whose brigade was under arms near its camp, was 
thereupon ordered to send a regiment to strengthen Hancock's 
line, in the skirts of the woods in front of Garnett's house. 
He sent the Fourth Vermont, and it was deployed between 
the Fifth Wisconsin and Forty-Third New York. Eight 
opposite, a hundred yards away, across an open field, in the 
edge of some timber, was the skirmish line of the enemy 
supported by several Georgia regiments. The same troops 
had faced each other at that point for some days pre- 
vious, and the men on the two sides had met in truces of 
their own arrangement, to exchange newspapers and trade 
coffee for tobacco, and a mutual understanding had been 
established that there should be no shooting on either side, 
without notice. This little arrangement came to an end that 
afternoon. Shortly after sundown, the enemy advanced in 
line of battle, drove in the Union pickets some of whom 
fell back while others took shelter in a hollow, over which 
the bullets soon flew thickly in both directions and advanc- 
ing half way across the field to the top of a low ridge, fired a 
volley. The Fourth Vermont, with the other regiments on its 
right and left, returned the fire so warmly that the enemy 
fell back to cover. They returned a while after, and partially 
sheltered by the ridge, kept up a sharp musketry fire, which 


was returned by Hancock's men and the Vermonters, till 
some time after dark. 

During this affair the Sixth Yermont was also brought 
up to support the right of Hancock's line ; and the pickets, 
of the Forty-Third New York, having exhausted their am- 
munition, a portion of the Sixth Vermont took their places 
on the skirmish line, while two companies, under Major 
Tuttle, were sent some distance to the right, to take the 
enemy on the flank. Still later the Sixth relieved the Fifth 
Maine and Forty-Ninth Pennsylvania, and held the picket 
line on the centre through the night. Two companies of the 
Fifth Yermont J were also on the picket line, in the low 
ground on the right. The rest of the brigade lay on their 
arms within supporting distance, through the night, the 
Fourth regiment having been withdrawn from the front 
before midnight. 

The brigade commanders on each side considered this 
an affair of some consequence. General Toornbs, in his 
report of it, says : " The action now raged with great violence 
"for an hour and a half, the enemy exhibiting a determined 
"purpose to drive us out of the ravine; but finding them- 
" selves incapable of wrenching it from the heroic grasp of 
"the Second and Fifteenth Georgia volunteers, were driven 
"back and repulsed after two hours of fierce and determined 
"conflict." In fact, however, the repulse was wholly on the 
other side. General Hancock says : " The contest of 
"musketry continued until long after dark, when the enemy 
"was repulsed with serious loss. The cartridges of our 
"troops were nearly exhausted at the close of the contest. 
" The action of itself had its greatest importance from the 
"fact that the enemy had just gained a success on the other 
" bank of the Chickahominy, and from the fact that had he 
"been able to force his way through our lines, at the point 

1 Companies I and C. 


"held by me, he would have been able to separate the two 
" portions of our army on either bank of the stream." Gen- 
eral Hancock further alludes to the " valuable assistance " 
rendered by General Brooks with the Fourth and Sixth 

The Fourth Vermont had eight men wounded in this 
action, and the Sixth lost one killed, six wounded and one 
missing. Hancock's command (including the Vermonters) 
had seven men killed and 111 wounded and missing. The 
regiments opposed to them were the Second, Fifteenth, 
Seventeenth, and Twentieth Georgia, of Toombs's brigade, 
and the Seventh Georgia of Anderson's brigade. General 
Toombs does not state his total loss ; but he admits a loss 
of about 200 men killed and wounded in two of his regi- 
ments/ and his aggregate loss was probably at least twice 
that of the Union troops opposed to him. 

It has long been known that if General McClellan had 
that day resolutely thrown forward his left wing he could 
have marched into Richmond; for Magruder had but 25,000 
men with which to oppose him, while McClellan had 60,000 
men on the south side of the Chickahominy. " Had McClel- 
"lan," says General Magruder, in his report, "massed his 
*' force in column and advanced against any point in our 
"line of battle, though the head of his column would have 
" suffered severely, its momentum would have insured its 
" success, and the occupation of our works about Richmond, 
"and consequently of the city, might have been his reward.' 
But General McClellan was thinking this day not of advance 
but of retreat. During that night the unwelcome intelligence 

General Toombs states that the Second Georgia "lost in killed and 
wounded about one-half of the men carried into action " having previously 
stated that seven companies of the Second Georgia took about 250 muskets 
into action and that the Fifteenth Georgia lost its commander, Colonel 
Mclntosh, mortally wounded, and 71 men killed and wounded. He adds 
that many other valuable officers and men were killed or wounded. 


spread rapidly through the army that the siege of Richmond 
was to be abandoned, and that the retreat of the army had 
in fact begun. Long wagon trains and lines of artillery and 
troops were already moving toward White Oak Swamp ; and 
bonfires of the new tents, supplied a few days before, and of 
commissary stores and clothing which could not be "carried, 
began to light up the wide spread sites of the army camps. 
It was a time of general gloom, relieved in part by the uni- 
versal conviction that immense superiority in numbers on the 
part of the enemy alone had compelled the retreat ; and the 
equally universal confidence, among the troops, that the 
genius and ability of their general-in-chief would bring them 
out all right in the not distant end. 1 

Next day Franklin's corps was withdrawn a short dis- 
tance toward Fair Oaks ; the movement of the Vermont 
brigade being accelerated by a furious shelling opened on 
its camps in the forenoon by rebel batteries posted on 
Gaines's Hill across the river, and on Garnett's Hill in front. 
The shells flew thick and fast, crossing each other at right 
angles over and around the tents, killing two men and wound- 
ing six before the column started. But the men had their 
knapsacks already packed, and the brigade moved off to the 
left for half a mile through the woods between the river and 
Fair Oaks, whither the rest of the division followed. On 
the way the rear guard, of Davidson's brigade, turned to meet 
Anderson's Georgia brigade, which crowded on its rear, and 
gave the latter a rebuff in which the Seventh and Eighth 
Georgia lost by their own account 150 men, including Colonel 
Lamar of the Eighth Georgia, who was severely wounded 

'"That we are any of us saved, is the result only of McClellan's 
genius." Army letter. 

It was this night that McClellan sent his famous letter to Secretary 
Stanton, in which he said : " The government has not sustained the army. 
If you do not do so now the game is lost. * * You have done your best 
to sacrifice this army." When he was writing this McClellan had 20,000 
more men than were opposed to Mm. 


and taken prisoner ; Lieut. Colonel White, commanding the 
Third Georgia, also captured ; and Lieut. Colonel Tower, 
Eighth Georgia, Major Magruder, and a dozen commissioned 
officers wounded. 

Starting before daylight next morning, Sunday, June 
29th, while a thin picket line (withdrawn at sunrise) kept up 
a show of strength in front of Magruder's lines, General 
Smith's division moved to the east, along the highlands skirt- 
ing the Chickahominy, halting and forming line near Dr. 
Trent's house, to cover the rear of the wagon trains. Then 
turning to the southwest it marched to Savage's Station. The 
scene of destruction and apparent confusion prevailing there 
was one not soon to be forgotten by any eye witness. To 
this point a large share of the immense stores gathered at 
the White House had been brought by railroad, and what 
could not now be loaded into the wagons was destroyed. 
Piles of hard bread as large as houses, and immense quanti- 
ties of flour, sugar, coffee and pork, in barrels, were consigned 
to the flames, and were made unfit for use by the smoke when 
not utterly consumed. Boxes of clothing and shoes were 
knocked open and every man helped himself to what he 
wanted, while enough was left to clothe and shoe the in- 
habitants of the region for two years after. A long train of 
cars was loaded with powder and shells, the cars set on fire, 
and the train started down grade to the river, filling the air 
with exploding shells and fragments of shattered cars as it 
held its fiery way, till it crashed through the blazing railroad 
bridge, when, with a grand explosion, train and bridge dis- 
appeared together. Here too were the large army hospitals, 
in which over 2,500 sick and wounded men, and several hun- 
dred surgeons and nurses, were left to fall into the enemy's 

The battle of Savage's Station was fought in the after- 
noon and evening of this day. In estimating its importance it 
is to be remembered that the success of General McClellan's 


change of base to the James, depended first on his successful 
passage of the great natural barrier of White Oak Swamp, 
which, extending over half-way across the Peninsula south of 
Richmond, lay squarely across his line of retreat. To with- 
draw an army of 115,000 fighting men from the face of an 
eager and victorious foe, and to move it with its immense 
army train of 5,000 wagons through the narrow funnel which 
afforded the only practicable passage through the swamp, was 
no child's play. Its accomplishment was perhaps the greatest 
achievement of McClellan's military career. 


The duty of making a stand in front of the road leading 
from Savage's Station to the swamp, was undertaken by the 
faithful Sumner, who was to be (but was not) supported by 

Heintzleman. If Sumner could hold his ground 
June 29, 1862. 

at the Station the success of the grand move- 
ment was largely assured ; for the swamp, once passed, would 
guard the retreat as much as it had hindered the march of 
the army. Sumner, after giving Magruder's a sharp repulse 
at Allen's Farm, two miles up the railroad toward Rich- 
mond, during the forenoon, fell back and formed his corps in 
front of Savage's Station, supposing that Heintzleman was 
taking position on his left. But to his surprise he learned, 
after the fighting began in the afternoon, that the latter had 
moved off to the swamp. 1 

Slocum's division, of Franklin's corps, had been sent 
forward to the swamp by General McClellan. General Smith 
also expected to move his division to and through the swamp 
that day; but finding in the morning, when he rode with 

1 Heintzleman's excuse for this was that he considered the open ground 
around Savage's Station too narrow to permit him to deploy his corps, in 
addition to the other troops thronging into it ; and he thought it best to take 
advantage of the only road leading direct from Savage's Station to White 
Oak Swamp, while it was open to him. The discovery that he had gone 
was made by Generals Franklin and Sedgwick, who rode out to the left to 
find Heintzleman, and were fired on by the enemy's artillery. 


General Franklin to the Station to look the ground over, that 
the position there was insufficiently guarded, he, by General 
Franklin's direction, disposed his division for a time in front 
of the Station. This point was guarded by him for two 
hours. After Sumner arrived with his corps, shortly after 
noon, Smith started on with his division for White Oak 
Swamp ; but had not gone over two miles on the way when 
he was recalled by General Sumner, who, left in the lurch by 
Heintzleman's departure, was glad to make the most of 
Smith's support. The rear guard at Savage's Station thus 
consisted of Sumner's corps and Smith's division ; and as it 
happened, all the fighting there done by that division fell to 
the lot of the Vermont brigade. 

The stand of the rear guard at Savage's Station was a 
notable passage in the history of the Peninsular campaign, 
v and the battle will be ever memorable to Yermonters as that 
in which one of our regiments, the Fifth, suffered the greatest 
loss in killed and wounded ever sustained by a Vermont 
regiment in action. 

Fully aware at last of McClellan's purpose and line of 
retreat, the Confederate commanders had been all day of 
Sunday, June 29th, hurrying forward their forces to strike 
the portion of his army which should be found on the north 
side of the swamp. This must fight alone, for the roads 
from Savage's Station into the swamp were packed with 
troops, artillery wagons, and herds of cattle, till not another 
man or animal could be added. Any attack upon or panic 
in this immense procession would have involved tremendous 
losses of guns and material. As has been stated, Smith's 
division arrived first at Savage's Station, and formed line 
of battle there about one o'clock. Some two hours later, 
Sumner's corps having arrived and taken position, Smith 
started for White Oak Swamp. He had proceeded about 
two miles when the engagement opened at the Station, and 
he was ordered back by Sumner. Sumner had stationed 


one of his two divisions, Richardson's, along the railroad at 
the Station and to the right of it, and the other, Sedgwick's, 
in open ground between the railroad and the Williamsburg 
road. When Smith's division arrived he sent Hancock's 
brigade to support Richardson on the right, and Brooks's 
brigade to the left to prolong Sedgwick's line and hold the 
ground which Heintzleman had been expected to occupy. 
The Third brigade, commanded by Colonel Taylor, its com- 
mander, General Davidson, having had a sunstroke that 
day, was held in reserve. All the fighting of the battle of 
Savage's Station was done on the left of the railroad. Rich- 
ardson's front was threatened but not assaulted, and Han- 
cock for once had nothing to do. On the left, Sedgwick and 
Brooks repulsed and drove from their front two of Ma- 
gruder's three divisions; secured the position of Savage's 
Station for four hours, during which the last of McClellan's 
army, save the rear guard, made good its retreat into the 
swamp; and held the ground till they themselves, under 
cover of the darkness, could follow the rest of the army. 
Had the Vermont brigade failed to do its duty, Sedgwick 
would have been flanked and probably cut to pieces, and 
Richardson and Hancock, taken in detail, might have been 
destroyed or captured. The columns pouring into White 
Oak Swamp would have been stampeded ; White Oak Bridge 
would have been seized by the enemy ; and the story of the 
grand change of base would in all human probability have 
had a very different ending. The details of this service are 
full of interest. 

General Magruder's lorce in this battle consisted of his 
own division and the divisions of McLaw's and Jones ; and 
in addition to his field batteries, he had a 32-lb rifled gun, 
mounted on a railroad platform car, and protected by an 
iron plated shield. Upon the performance of this " Railroad 
Merrimac," as the Richmond papers called it, the Confede- 
rates had counted not a little ; and it did them good service 


that day. The battle opened about half past four o'clock 
P. M., by Magruder's artillery, to which Sedgwick's guns re- 
plied. To the roar of these, Smith's division returned to the 
field. The day was very hot, and the men had been march- 
ing or standing under arms all day ; but they hurried back 
at double quick, conscious that they were wanted. General 
Brooks halted the brigade something over a mile from the 
field, on the Williamsburg road. His orders were to advance 
into the woods on the left of the road and push back the 
enemy, now swarming into the woods in front, in strong 
force, and threatening to envelop Sedgwick's left. General 
Brooks formed his command with a line of battle in front, 
composed of the Fifth Yermont, Lieut. Colonel Grant, 1 on 
the right, and the Sixth, Colonel Lord, on the left. Sup- 
porting these were the Second, Colonel Whiting, and Third, 
Lieut. Colonel Yeazey, 2 each in column by division. Two 
companies (A. and K.) of the Second Yermont were thrown 
forward as skirmishers, under command of Lieut. Colonel 
Walbridge. The Fourth regiment, Colonel Stoughton, was 
held in reserve, and did not become engaged. General 
Brooks had little or no aid from the artillery, the Union 
batteries engaged being all posted on the north of the 
Williamsburg road. The four regiments first named entered 
the woods in the order above described, and advanced about 
half a mile, when the skirmishers engaged the enemy's 
skirmishers, and drove them back upon their main line. 
The skirmishers then drew off to the left, and the battle 
on the south of the Williamsburg road opened in deadly 
earnest. When it closed each of the Yermont regiments 

1 Colonel Smalley was not with the brigade during this campaign, and 
at this time was absent on sick leave. 

2 Colonel Hyde was taken sick a day or two before ; and Lieut. Colonel 
Veazey, who had been for a time in command of the Seventy-seventh New 
York, of Davidson's brigade, was the day previous, at the close of the action 
at Golding's farm, placed in command of the Third Vermont. 



actively engaged had cleared its front of the enemy, and 
the brigade held its ground till it was withdrawn to join the 
division on the night march to White Oak Swamp. As the 
density of the woods and the shadows of the evening, which 
were already falling as the brigade entered the timber, hid the 
regiments from each other and to a great extent from the eye 
of the brigade commander, the fighting was necessarily of a 
somewhat disconnected and desultory sort. General Brooks 

Battle-neld of Savage's Station, June 29, 1862. 

was there and did his duty and received a painful wound 
but from the nature of the case he could not direct to any 
considerable extent the details of the fighting of his brigade. 
Each regimental commander had his order to advance and 
engage any opposing force ; and each the final order to re- 
tire. Between these orders, each colonel largely fought his 
regiment on his own hook ; and the work of the brigade can 
be best described by describing the actions of the several regi- 


ments. These will be taken up in the order in which they 
became engaged. 

The Fifth regiment had the right of the line, and at the 
order to advance pushed into the woods in good shape, its 
right resting on and directing its course by the Williams- 
burg road. Soon after entering the woods it marched straight 
over a Union regiment which had been ordered in shortly 
before, but had halted in the woods and refused to advance. 
This was a large regiment, which had joined Smith's division 
several weeks before from General Wool's command. Its 
men, mostly recruited in the saloons and beer gardens of New 
York city, made a fine appearance on parade, but proved to 
be of poor fighting quality. This was their first experience 
under fire, and they had thrown themselves upon the ground 
and utterly refused to move. Stepping over them the men of 
the Fifth marched straight on. 1 The enemy's battery and the 
railroad monitor were raking the woods through which they 
must advance with a terrible fire of shell and grape. As 
they neared the open ground in front they came up with the 
line of skirmishers, who now withdrew, and in a moment 
more the line of the Fifth came out into an open field, and 
confronted the hitherto unseen enemy. In the open ground 
on the right of the road, Burns's brigade, supported on its 
left by the First Minnesota, was actively engaged with 
Kershaw's brigade. In front of the Fifth was Semmes's 
brigade in a hollow which almost hid it from view. On a 
crest beyond, on the Williamsburg road, were Kemper's 

In later days and with added experience, Colonel Grant, 

1 " I remember as if it was yesterday the way we tramped over that 
line of cringing men, cursing them soundly for their cowardice. The same 
regiment the next day broke at White Oak Swamp, and ran away, and had 
our brigade not been made of better stuff, Jackson would have forced the 
crossing at White Oak Bridge. General McClellan had the whole regiment 
put under guard, and punished officers and men severely." Statement of 
Sergeant Lucius Bigelow. 


in such a situation, would have halted his regiment in the 
protection of the woods, thrown out skirmishers, and either 
awaited the enemy's attack, or at least postponed his own 
advance till the battery in front had been flanked and dis- 
lodged. But it was his first battle, and he did not intend to 
do any less than he was ordered to do. His order was to 
advance and push back the enemy, and he obeyed it even too 
literally. As the regiment pressed straight on, its right soon 
crossed the Williamsburg road, which here bends a little to- 
wards the south, the right company lapping the left of the 
First Minnesota. 1 It advanced till the enemy was visible in 
the hollow in front. Colonel Grant now ordered a bayonet 
charge. The Fifth charged on the double quick ; and the 
opposing line broke into the woods on its right and left. 
Another Confederate infantry line remained beyond the 
hollow, and, halting his regiment, Grant opened fire upon it. 
Two volleys were returned, from as many regiments, while 
Kemper's battery opened with grape and canister, and from 
the edge of the woods to the left came a cross fire of mus- 
ketry. The storm of death swept through the ranks of the 
Fifth with murderous effect. In less time than it takes to 
tell it, the ground was strewn with fallen Yermonters. In 
twenty minutes every other man in the line of the Fifth was 
killed or wounded. None but heroes of the stoutest mettle 
would have held their ground under such circumstances ; but 
refusing its left to avoid the enfilading fire from the woods, 
and taking advantage of a slight swell of ground and a few 
scattered trees in front, the Fifth maintained its advanced 
position, silenced the enemy in its front, and did not fall back 
till ordered to the rear with the brigade, hours after. The 
men had sixty rounds of cartridges, and many of them 
used them all, exchanging their guns as they became heated 

1 Some of the men of the First Minnesota fought for a time in the 
ranks of the Fifth Vermont. 


for those of their fallen comrades. Soon after dark, the fire 
of the enemy wholly ceased, and the Fifth was in undisputed 
possession of its position. No Vermont regiment ever made 
a braver fight, or at such fearful cost. The Fifth had in line 
on that field probably not over 400 muskets. Its loss in 
killed and wounded was 206 most of whom fell in the first 
half hour. 1 The larger portion of the casualties were inflicted 
by Kemper's battery. Asst. Surgeon Sawin of the Second 
Yermout, who visited the field next day, says in a letter writ- 
ten soon after : " Thirty men of the Fifth Vermont were 
found lying side by side, dressed in as perfect a line as for a 
dress parade, who were all stricken down by one discharge 
of grape and canister from the enemy's battery." '* Com- 
panies E. and H. suffered especially from the artillery fire. 
Company E. had three commissioned officers and 56 men in 
line, of whom but seven came out unharmed and of the 
others twenty-five lacking one of one-half were killed or 
mortally wounded. In the ranks of that company that day 
stood five brothers, from Manchester, Henry, Hiram, Silas, 
William and Edward Cummings, with a cousin of the same 
surname, William H. Cummings, and a brother-in-law, 
Horace Clayton. Of these seven men six were killed and 

1 We could not, allowing for shirks and feeble men, blown by double- 
quicking, have carried more than 400 muskets into battle. We lost in 
twenty minutes 206 men, killed and wounded. In spite of this awful loss 
the regiment held its ground and quelled the fire of the enemy ; and it was 
difficult to make the men understand why they should retreat after dark; 
for they felt that they had held their ground and won the day." Statement 
of Sergeant Lucius Bigelow. 

2 This scene, so sad to Union eyes, was visited, and of course viewed 
with different feelings, by many Confederate officers. In his article on 
McClellan's Change of Base, in the Century Magazine for July, 1885, Gen- 
eral D. H. Hill says of it : "About half a mile from the Station (Savage's) 
we saw what seemed to be an entire regiment of Federals cold in death, 
and learned that a Vermont regiment had made a desperate charge upon 
the division of McLaw's, and had been almost annihilated." 


one severely wounded. 1 Such fatality in one family in one 
battle, was probably without a parallel in the war. 

Kemper's battery had fired three rounds before the Fifth 
could reply. Two companies then gave their attention 
especially to the battery, which about this time, being threat- 
ened by the advance of the rest of the Yermont brigade and 
left unsupported by the retreat of the Confederate infantry, 
ceased firing and withdrew, and was not heard from again 
that night. 

The experience of the other three regiments was less 
severe. All advanced together, but found it difficult to keep 
their lines dressed in the woods, or to hold their direction. 
The Sixth started forward with the Fifth, but bore more to 
the left. It was at one time in great danger, as the enemy 
lapped its line, and a Confederate regiment moved in the 
twilight to its left and rear ; but this retreated after firing a 
volley. Musket balls and grapeshot flew thickly through the 
woods, and over sixty of the men fell without seeing their 
opponents. The Sixth held its position in the woods till the 
enemy retired from its front, and till the brigade was with- 

The Second regiment was still moving in column by 
division, when, its front having been uncovered by the 
divergence of the regiments in front, it suddenly came under 
fire from the enemy's batteries in front and halted. Colonel 
Whiting's order at this juncture, was to "charge bayonets!" * 
This being a movement not known to the tactics, as the regi- 
ment was then closed in mass, the men stood still. His next 

1 The survivor was the oldest of the brothers, Henry. He had a seri- 
ous wound in the thigh, and was discharged six months after by special 
order of the Secretary of War. William Cummings suffered amputation of 
the thigh, and did not survive the operation. 

2 Statement of Colonel "Whiting, who frankly admits that for the 
moment he was "at his wits end." 


command was to cheer, and this was lustily obeyed. 1 The 
regiment was then partially deployed, and the front line re- 
turned the enemy's fire coming from the woods in front. 
The regiment was subsequently withdrawn to a cross road, 
where it remained till the brigade retired. Of the casualties 
in the Second regiment about half took place among the 

The Third regiment started forward in rear of the Sixth 
in column by division ; but in marching through the woods, as 
was the case with each regiment, lost sight of the other regi- 
ments. It probably bore to the left of the Sixth till its 
front was uncovered. As it advanced it came under a lively 
artillery fire which, however, damaged the trees more than 
the men. In accordance with his orders, Lieut. Colonel 
Yeazey now deployed the regiment into line and kept on till 
suddenly from the thick woods in front, about forty yards 
away, came a challenge : "Who are you?" Some one in the 
line of the Third answered, "The Third Vermont." The 
prompt reply to this was a volley of musketry, which took 
effect principally on the left of the Third, cutting down 
Captain Corbin commanding the left company, Company C., 
and nearly half of the men of that company in the line. The 
Third returned the fire, at the same time, by Colonel Veazey's 
order, cheering loudly, and the opposing regiment, which 
was the Fifth Louisiana, of Semmes's brigade, unable to see 
what force was before it, and fearing, as some of the rebels 
were heard to say to each other, that it would be flanked 
or cut off, retreated without staying upon the order of its 
going, and was seen and heard no more that night. The 
Third maintained its position till ordered back, an hour later. 
After the enemy's fire in front had slackened, and it was be- 

1 ' ' That command to cheer I lay up as the best act performed by me 
during my service. Only soldiers can estimate what a cheer may accom- 
plish, when matters seem to be on the balance." Statement of Colonel 


coming dark in the woods, Major Walbridge, who, with a por- 
tion of the skirmishers, was at the extreme left of the liae of 
the brigade, heard troops moving still farther to the left. 
Surmising that it might be a Union regiment coming up to 
extend the line, he rode out towards them and hailed them 
with the question : " What troops are those ?" They at once 
halted, and a voice replied : " Who are you ?" Walbridge 
repeated: "What regiment is that?" Again the voice 
replied: "You tell!" followed by the order : "Keady!" Be- 
fore the order to fire, which followed, came, Walbridge had 
wheeled his horse, put spurs to him, and with his head bent 
down to his saddlebow, was dashing away through the under- 
brush. The bullets rattled around him ; but he was not hurt. 
General Brooks, however, who was also riding to the left 
at the time to learn what was going on there, was wounded 
in the calf of the right leg by this volley. The Confederate 
regiment fell back at once after firing. 

The loss of the brigade at Savage's Station was 358, as 
follows : 

Killed. Wounded. Missing. Died of wounds. Total. 

Second Vermont, 5 43 3 48 

Third " 6 18 24 

Fourth "00 5 sick in hosp. 5 

Fifth " 45 158 3 " " " 27 206 

Sixth " 15 51 9 " " " 6 75 

71 270 17 36 358 

A number of additional " missing " were reported at the 
time ; but included among them were 14 men detailed to 
remain as nurses with the sick and wounded. The rest, for 
the most part belonged in the list of killed. Three brave 
young officers, Lieutenants Sumner and Comstock of the Fifth 
and Kamsay of the Third, were among the killed ; and the 
list of wounded comprised eleven commissioned officers. 1 The 

1 Captains Corbin and Nelson of the Third, Captains Benton, Jenne 
and Seager, and Lieutenants Barber, Peck, Smith, Wilson and Wright of 
the Fifth, and Lieutenant Wood of the Sixth. 


loss was not all on one side. Kershaw lost 290 men, some 
of whom, no doubt, fell from the fire of the Vermont troops. 
General Semmes, who, as his report shows, had four regi- 
ments, the Tenth and Fifty-third Georgia, Fifth Louisiana, 
and Thirty-second Virginia, (with two more, Fifteenth Vir- 
ginia and Tenth Louisiana, in reserve) opposed to the Third 
and Sixth Vermont, admits severe loss in the Tenth Georgia. 
Sernmes says that "no less than four hundred of the enemy's 
dead were found on the field the next morning," in front of 
three regiments of his brigade ; and that " more than one 
hundred of the dead enemy " were counted on the field im- 
mediately in front of the Fifth Louisiana. How wild these 
assertions are may be seen from the fact that the Fifth 
Louisiana, by Semmes's account, was engaged with no regi- 
ment but the Third Vermont, 1 and the killed of the Third 
were five ! A like discount of ninety-five per cent, must be 
made in his statement of the number of Union dead in front 
of his brigade. This did not hold its position ; but, as his 
report shows, marched back to its camp an hour and a half 
before the Vermont brigade left the field. If General Sem- 
mes's statement of his own loss is as wide of the truth, a con- 
siderable addition may be made to the Confederate loss in 
his brigade. 3 

It may be mentioned here that the Union soldiers 
wounded and captured at Savage's Station suffered much 
from want of care, though the less severely wounded did their 

1 ''Discovering troops not more than forty yards in front, I directed 
Private Maddox, Co. K., Fifth Louisiana, to advance and challenge "Who 
are you ?" to which the reply was " Friends." Hearing this I demanded : 
" What regiment?" and was answered : " Third Vermont." Whereupon 
the order was given to commence firing." Semmes's report. 

2 As the aggregates of casualties in the seven days battles, on both 
sides, generally comprise several engagements, it is difficult to allot the 
losses accurately. Confederate reports seem to admit a loss of about 1,000 
more than the Union losses in the action at Savage's Station. 


best to relieve the more helpless sufferers. "We were 
obliged to neglect many," says P. H. Taylor, a member of the 
First Minnesota, who, himself wounded, acted as a volunteer 
nurse, " and maggots filled nearly every wound that came 
under my observation." 1 " You must do the best you can for 
your wounded," said Stonewall Jackson to Mr. Taylor: "we've 
got all we want to do to follow up your army." A number 
of Vermonters died in the field hospitals at Savage's Station. 
The survivors were sent to Richmond. 

" This day's operations," says the Comte de Paris, "were 
a great success for McClellan. The first and most difficult 
step in his retreat movement was taken and with fortunate 
results. He had succeeded in placing White Oak Swamp 
between his army and the main body of his adversaries, and 
in surmounting this serious obstacle without losing either a 
cannon or a vehicle. 3 All the efforts of the enemy to effect a 
rout in his rear-guard had been repulsed with loss." Sedg- 
wick and Brooks did the fighting by which this result was 
secured. Magruder and his division generals evidently 
realized the importance of those closing hours of the 29th of 
June. Their attempt to destroy Sumner was pressed with 
ardor and high hope ; and but for the steadiness of the Ver- 
mont brigade, which for four hours held back double its 
numbers, without yielding to them a foot of ground, it would 
have been successful. General Sumner wa for staying at 
Savage's. " No, General," he said to General Franklin, " you 

1 " In spite of all my precautions, my wound became maggotty; and 
there is no describing the misery I was in. How to remove them was a 
puzzle ; but I obtained some spirits of turpentine, which others were using 
for the same purpose, and placing my leg in the right position I turned in 
the turpentine, letting it pass entirely through the wound, which had the 
effect of clearing out the wound and the rnaggots also." Dia-y of Lucius 
D. Savage, Company F., Second Vermont, wounded in the leg at Savage's 

2 This is not quite correct. Mott lost a gun at White Oak Bridge, and 
the batteries attached to McCall's division lost fourteen guns at Glendale. 


shall not go, nor will I go. I never leave a victorious field. 
Why, if I had 20,000 more men I would crush this rebel- 
lion!" x But he was finally convinced by Franklin and Smith 
and by Lieutenant Berry of Smith's staff, who had seen 
General McClellan but a short time before, that the latter 
expected all of his army to cross the swamp that night, and 
he reluctantly permitted the division commanders to give the 
necessary orders. 


About ten o'clock that evening, Smith's division resumed 
the retreat. Leaving the dead on the field and the wounded 
who were not able to march, some in a blacksmith's shop 
and others under rude shelters of boughs, in charge of Sur- 
geons Kussell of the Fifth and Sawin of the Second, who, 
with several hospital attendants were left to care for them 
and share their captivity, the brigade marched with the divi- 
sion for White Oak Swamp. The night was dark ; but numer- 
ous fires, built by teamsters and stragglers in the pine woods 
along the road, lit up the line of march. Sick and wounded 
men, many using their guns as crutches, staggered in long 
procession after the column. The road was filled with 
wagons, ambulances and artillery, mingled with the troops. 
Throngs of stragglers, of other organizations, hung upon the 
rear of the brigade, and pressed into the ranks of the regi- 
ments when they halted ; and it was with difficulty that any 
organization was preserved. All night long the march con- 
tinued. Shortly after daylight, on the 30th, the division 
crossed White Oak Bridge and halted on the other side of 
the creek, where it was to make a second stand, to cover the 
retreat of the army. The bridge was destroyed in the morn- 
ing after the last trains and troops had crossed. Ayres's, 
Mott's and Wheeler's batteries were posted to command the 

1 Century Magazine, Vol. XXX., p. 463. 


crossing, and the division was stationed in the woods and 
open ground near by. The Vermont brigade, after several 
changes of position, halted in an open field, skirted by a belt 
of trees, near the bridge. Hundreds of army wagons were 
parked in the field. Officers and men, exhausted by the ex- 
citement and fatigue of the previous day and night, stretched 
themselves on the grass, and sank into sleep. They had 
slept for several hours when their rest was rudely broken. 
Stonewall Jackson, having effected a crossing of the Chicka- 
hominy the evening previous, at the Grapevine Bridge, which 
he had to rebuild, had pushed on in pursuit of the Union 
column till, about the middle of the forenoon, his advance 
was checked at White Oak Bridge, by finding the bridge 
gone, and Smith's division posted on the opposite bank. The 
inequalities of the ground on the north side enabled him to 
approach without discovery within easy artillery range, and 
he quietly brought forward seven field batteries to the brow 
of the hill, which commanded the field in which the Vermont 
troops lay and most of the ground around. The guns were 
hidden by the underbrush, and their presence was not dis- 
covered by a man of Smith's command. Accounts differ as 
to the number of Jackson's guns in battery. Colonel Crutch- 
field, his chief of artillery, says, in his report of the affair : 
" I found it possible with a little work, to open a way 
" through the woods to the right of the road on which we 
" advanced, by which our guns could be brought, unseen by 
"the enemy, in position behind the crest of the hill on 
"this side, about one thousand yards from the enemy's 
"batteries. Seven batteries, in all 23 guns, were accordingly 
" ordered up. * * * About fifteen minutes of two P. M., 
" we opened on the enemy, who had no previous intimation 
"of our position and intention." General Jackson in his 
report says the number of guns so used was twenty-eight. 
General D. H. Hill says there were thirty-one guns upon the 
bluff 26 from his division and five from Whiting's division. 


Either number was quite enough to satisfy the troops exposed 
to their fire. For these, the opening bellow of the cannon- 
ade was the first note of warning, and before they realized 
what it meant the air was full of whizzing missiles which 
plunged with exceeding carelessness among the troops, 
knocking mules and wagons to pieces, and making bad work 
among the battery men and horses. 1 General Franklin says 
of this bombardment : " It commenced with a severity which 
I never heard equalled in the field." The scene presented 
for a few moments after, is thus described by Surgeon Stevens 
of the Seventy -seventh New York : " Unutterable confusion 
"prevailed for a time ; riderless horses galloped madly to the 
" rear ; officers wandered without commands, and men were 
"left without directions how to act. Generals Smith and 
" Davidson occupied an old fashioned wooden house, which 
"stood upon the brow of the elevation above and facing the 
" bridge. About it were many orderlies, holding their horses. 
'* The first volley riddled the house with shells. The gray- 
" haired owner of the house (Mr. Britton) was cut in two as 
"he stood in the door, and several other persons were injured. 
" General Smith, at the moment the cannonade opened, was 
" engaged at his rude toilet ; his departure from the house 
" was so hasty that he left his watch, which he did not re- 
" cover. He coolly walked to a less exposed position and 
"devoted himself to restoring order." In this confusion the 
Vermont regiments shared to the extent of breaking for the 
nearest shelter. But they rallied at once behind the screen 
of timber, under the efforts of some of the regimental and 
staff officers who retained their coolness, at a time when some 
undeniably brave officers entirely lost their self-possession. 
And when General Brooks rode slowly up on his iron-gray 
horse, and came out through the skirt of the woods into 

1 Wheeler's battery suffered severely, four of his guns being disabled 
by loss of artillerymen and horses ; and one of Mott's guns was left behind 
when the division moved on. 



sight of his men. they welcomed him with a cheer and fell 
into line with a degree of promptness which was remarkable 
proof of their courage and discipline. Brooks threw out a 
line of skirmishers into the clearing, and a firm front, which 
was not again broken that day, was soon presented to the 

Soon after the rally of the brigade in the pine timber, 
through which the hostile shells still flew thickly, the Third 
Vermont, Lieut. Colonel Yeazey, was ordered to the left, 
to reinforce the Third brigade, and was warmly welcomed 
by General Davidson, who posted it to cover his right flank. 
Next it on the left, was a large and fine looking regiment. 
The little episode which followed is best told in Colonel 
Yeazey's words : " The enemy was shelling the woods 
" severely but harmlessly in the main. I went to our right 
"to deploy one or two companies to cover my right flank, 
"there being no troops beyond us. When I rode back, I 
"found the regiment on our left had disappeared. Upon 
"inquiry of my men there, they said: 'Oh, they all ran 
"away. They could not stand the shelling of the pine 
"trees.' 1 Instead of feeling alarm at being left alone, in 
" expectation of a rebel attack, the men of the Third treated 
"the running away of that regiment as a joke on them ; and 
" seemed to feel perfectly competent to take care of all the 
"rebels in the Confederacy. I don't think it occurred to any 
" man in the line to leave because others had left. When I 
"reported the situation to General Davidson, who was a 
"nervous, outspoken Yirginian, a regular army officer, his 
" disgust at the conduct of his own men was only equalled by 
"his admiration of the conduct of the Third ; and the com- 
" pliments he passed upon Yermont troops were too vehement 
"to bear repeating. These and other things showed that 

1 "My troops formed on the new line well, except the Twentieth New 
York, who lost their formation." Report of General John W. Davidson 
& very mild description of the conduct of the regiment named. 


"even at that early day the Vermont troops were highly 
"regarded by other commanders." 

Jackson's attempt to stampede the rear guard at White 
Oak Bridge thus failed. His artillery kept up its firing at 
intervals all day ; but his cavalry and skirmishers were driven 
back whenever they appeared, and he was compelled to halt 
for the day on the north side of the creek, though he was 
greatly needed at Glendale, but three miles away to the south- 
west, where Longstreet and A. P. Hill were making a desper- 
ate effort to cut in two the retreating Union column. Jackson 
has been much blamed by writers on both sides for remaining 
comparatively quiet all that day, in plain hearing of Long- 
street's guns. He said, in his report, that he was " eager to 
press forward ;" but that the destruction of the bridge and 
the strong position of the enemy prevented his advancing 
till next morning. It was the firm front held by Smith's 
division which deterred him ; and largely in consequence of 
the service thus rendered, the mass of the Army of the Poto- 
mac was able to reach Malvern Hill, without serious stoppage 
or disaster. 

The brigade resumed its march to the James that (Mon- 
day) night, about eleven o'clock. 1 At that hour General 
Smith drew his division out quietly from its lines, without 
the knowledge of the enemy, the Confederate pickets being 
deceived by false orders, shouted within their hearing by the 
Union officers. In this march the Sixth corps moved 
by a comparatively unused road, two miles south of the 
Quaker road over which the main portion of the army moved. 
This road had been explored by a member of General Smith's 
staff during the day previous, and found to be practicable. 

1 In the official lists of battles and engagements of the Vermont troops, 
printed by Adjt. General Washburn in his report for 1866, the date attached 
to White Oak Swamp is " June 30th to July 3d." This is partly incorrect. 
The brigade moved through White Oak Swamp in the night of the 30th, 
and no fighting was done by any troops in White Oak Swamp on the 1st 
and 2d of July. 


" The discovery of this road," says General Franklin, 1 " made 
the concentration of the troops at Malvern Hill a completed 
manoeuvre by noon of the 1st of July, and was due to the 
fertile brain of General Smith, who ordered the exploration." 
" That night," says General D. H. Hill, " Franklin glided 
silently by Longstreet and A. P. Hill. He had to pass with- 
in easy range of their artillery ; but they did not know he 
was there." The troops of Smith's division, exhausted as- 
they were by want of rest and food, pushed on through the 
night hours, till soon after daylight Tuesday morning their 
eyes were gladdened by the sight of the main army, not 
retreating but faced about and taking position for a final 
stand on the slopes of Malvern Hill. 

The route they had come by brought the corps out on 
the right of the army, as the lines faced the enemy, and it 
was posted on the east and south of the hill, and on the right 
of the semicircle of bayonets which encircled Malvern Hill 
from Turkey Island Creek on the south round to the James 
on the west. The left of Smith's division rested on the 
southern side of the hill, with Richardson's division of 
Sumner's corps on its left, and Slocum's division on its 
right. The men sank in their tracks when finally halted, and 
were allowed to sleep for three hours ; when they were again 
aroused, and after some changes of position, in the arrange- 
ment of the lines, were faced into line of battle for the final 
conflict of the seven days of fighting, now gathering on the left 
and front. The tides of Confederate valor which surged that 
afternoon up the slopes of Malvern Hill, to be swept back by 
the resistless fire of the Union artillery and infantry, though 
rolling heavily against the left and centre, did not reach the 
front of the Vermont brigade, or of any portion of the Sixth 
corps ; and the part of the brigade in the victory of Malvern 
Hill, was confined to standing wearily in the lines from ten. 

1 Century Magazine, Vol. XXX, p. 467. 


in the morning till eleven at night. With senses partially 
dulled by the exhaustion following the fatigues and excite- 
ments of the preceding six days and nights * the men listened 
to the thunder of the strife upon their left, and wondered 
dreamily what the result was to be. At nine o'clock in the 
evening Lee withdrew his shattered divisions, and soon after 
General McClellan rode down the lines amid the cheers of 
the men, and the cheerful word was passed along that the 
enemy had been beaten back at all points with tremendous 
slaughter. Yet the night brought little rest for the troops. 
Strong as was the position at Malvern Hill and Turkey Bend, 
the naval officers decided that the James was not wide 
enough there to allow them to protect the supply transports 
from attack from the opposite bank, and McClellan ordered 
a further withdrawal of the army to Harrison's Landing, 
seven miles to the south. Smith's division was to bring up 
the rear, and was drawn out from its lines during the night ? 
moving only enough to prevent sleep for the men. Having 
to wait for the other troops to pass, it did not fairly take up 
its line of march for Harrison's Landing till nearly dawn. 
The division pickets during the day previous had been de- 
tailed from the Third Yermont, and at nightfall General 
Smith informed Colonel Yeazey of the Third that he was to 
hold the picket line during the night with a few cavalry 
videttes on the roads in his front. His orders were to stand 
fast and fight anything and everything that appeared till the 
division had been gone for two hours. He was then to draw 
in his men and follow the column, driving up all the strag- 
glers, and destroying any abandoned arms found along the 
route. It was a responsible duty, and became somewhat 

'"In General Smith's division every march [of the Seven Days] 
was made at night. The nervous excitement of being under fire every 
day for nearly a week, often without an opportunity of returning the 
fire, has caused a prostration, from which in many cases the men have not 
yet recovered." General Franklin's Report, July 17th. 


trying in the course of the night, when the cavalry videttes 
came tearing in and reported the enemy advancing in force. 
This, however, proved to be a false report. The Confederate 
generals were, in fact, thinking that night of measures to 
protect Richmond, in case McClellan should resume the 
offensive, rather than of further pursuit, and the retreat of 
the division and of the army was unmolested. 

That march from Malvern Hill to Harrison's Landing 
was the saddest and weariest march of its length in the his- 
tory of the brigade. The rain poured in torrents ; the wagons 
and artillery had poached the roads into canals of mud; 
the stouter men could hardly drag one foot after another; 
and the weaker fell out by hundreds, some to die of ex- 
haustion, and others to join the long caravan of stragglers. 
Colonel Yeazey, describing this march, says: "No person 
" can give any conception of the wake of a retreating army 
" after such a campaign in such a country. It simply beg- 
gared description. Stragglers sick and dying, arms of 
"every description, stores of all kinds, abandoned wagons, 
"broken down horses and mules, mud so deep that no bot- 
" torn could be reached. All these at every step ; and then 
"add the sickening feeling of defeat and retreat, and the 
" momentary expectation of a rear attack, and no help within 
" reach. Weary, hungry, exhausted, sick, what torment 
"could be added, except the loss of honor? Such was our 
" dreary march as a rear guard to Harrison's Landing. But 
' fortunately everything has an end; and more dead than 
" alive we found the end of that march at last. But it was 
" only to find a bivouac in water and mud, without fire or 
" rations until the next day ; and even then, early in the 
"morning the Third regiment was ordered out to repel an 
"attack upon the picket line, and went with scarcely a 
"murmur." The Vermont troops marched in better order 
than many others; but endurance had nearly reached its 
limit, when, in the afternoon of July 2d, they moved through 


the last piece of woods skirting the plateau about Harrison's 
Landing, and came out in sight of the river. It was a glad 
sight, for its surface was covered with gunboats and trans- 
ports, whose presence meant rest and rations. The men 
dropped on the soaked ground, at the first halt, and sank to 
sleep. The Fourth regiment was sent out that night to- 
picket the line in front of the division ; and the rest of the 
brigade bivouacked for the night in the mud without food 
or fires. 1 Next morning a few shells were thrown into 
the camp of the division by General "Jeb" Stuart, who 
with his cavalry and a light battery had followed on the rear 
of the army. He was speedily driven away; but it was 
thought best to move the division a short distance to a less 
exposed position ; and it went into camp during the forenoon 
on Euffin's farm, two miles north of Harrison's Landing. 
Here it remained during the six weeks of sickly, dreary and 
monotonous camp life, which characterized the stay of the 
army at Harrison's Landing. 

On the 4th of July not an altogether cheerful anniver- 
sary of the nation's birthday the brigade was reviewed, with 
the division, by General McClellan ; and on the 8th was 
again paraded to receive President Lincoln. It was about 
dark before he reached the Vermont brigade, which had 
been in line, awaiting him, for hours ; but the men had voice 
and spirit enough to give him three cheers and a " tiger." 

Extensive earthworks were now thrown up to guard 
the position ; the woods were slashed and cleared for many 
acres in front, and lines of abbatis were constructed. The 
camp hospitals were soon overcrowded with sick men. Many 

1 " We lost our knapsacks and clothing and tents, and we have to 
sleep without any covering at night, in a wet open field, and mud, mud, 
up to our knees. If we lie down in it, we can hardly get up again. The 
d n cusses got my prayer-book ; but I don't care for that. May it con- 
vert the fellow that got it. The rebel capital must be ours, cost what it 
may." Letter of an Irish soldier, in a Vermont regiment, from Harrison's 


died in camp. Hundreds languished in the government hos- 
pitals. Other hundreds were discharged with broken con- 
stitutions. Many received leaves of absence and went home 
to recruit their health. The rest remained and made their 
condition as tolerable as possible, by digging wells to give 
them better water than that of the streams and swamps, and 
providing shades of pine trees for their shelter tents. So 
they patiently awaited the next movement. 

General McClellan, having been heavily reinforced, was 
now contemplating, among other things, a crossing of the 
James and a fresh movement on Richmond by the way of 
Petersburg, when he was ordered by the authorities at Wash- 
ington to withdraw from the Peninsula, and to come up near 
Washington to co-operate with General Pope's command. 
The army thereupon marched to Fortress Monroe, whence it 
was to be taken by water to Alexandria. The Sixth corps 
remained in its lines at Harrison's Landing for two days 
after the movement commenced, while the rest of the army, 
with a wagon train twenty-five miles long, was filing out for 
the march down the Peninsula, and then brought up the rear. 1 

In this march the Yermont brigade started with Smith's 
division, on the 16th of August, with six days cooked rations; 
bivouacked near Charles City Court House that night, and 
after two pretty hard days march in the hot sun reached the 
Chickahominy about sundown of the 17th. It crossed at 
Barrett's Perry, a mile above its mouth, by the long pon- 
toon bridge over which the army had been streaming 
for two days, and halted for the night on the left bank. 
Another day's march, still under a burning sun, brought the 
division to Williamsburg, once the capital of the Old 
Dominion. Passing through its street, past the old build- 
ings of William and Mary College at one end, and the ruins 
of the old capitol at the other, the division halted for the 

1 " It was forty-five hours after the first team passed, till our brigade, 
next to the last, passed out." Colonel Whiting's Statement. 


night on the battlefield of three months before. The next 
day's march brought it to Yorktown, where it encamped near 
the York river on the lines which Porter's division had 
fortified during the thirty days siege. Another clear, hot, 
dusty day, during which many tired men fell out of the 
ranks, and the brigade reached Big Bethel. Another hard 
march on the 21st, brought the brigade back, after five 
months absence, to the vicinity of the desolated village of 
Hampton, and the next day, after seven hours of waiting on 
the beach of Fortress Monroe, the brigade embarked on 
transports with the Sixth corps, and steamed for Alexandria. 
The voyage up the river was a pleasant change, in spite of 
the crowded condition of the transports. The tired men 
became rested ; the health of the command had improved 
on the march down the Peninsula, under the addition of 
fruit, principally of green plums and peaches, to their army 
diet ; and while their thin and bronzed faces and ragged 
clothing told of hard service, and the campaign had left 
little of the exultant feeling with which they entered upon it 
five months before, the spirit of the Vermonters was good. 
They were conscious that they had fought well, in advance 
and in retreat, and that no part of the reverses of the army 
could be laid at their door ; and they were about as ready 
as ever to march or fight, when the order should come, 
though they understood better than before what marching 
and fighting meant. The brigade disembarked at Alexandria 
in the afternoon of Sunday, August 24th, marched through 
the city to a field a mile to the west, near Fort Ellsworth, 
and remained there till August 29th. 



The situation, September 1, 1862 The part of the Sixth corps in Pope's 
Campaign The march into Maryland Storming of Crampton's Gap 
Brillant action of the Fourth Vermont The battle of Antietam Part 
taken by the Vermont Brigade A quiet time at Hagerstown Stuart's 
second raid Accession of the Twenty-Sixth New Jersey to the brigade 
Retirement of General Brooks from the command Return to Vir- 
ginia Changes of army, corps, division and brigade commanders 
McClellan's farewell review March to the Rappahannock Burnside's 
bloody failure Howe's division and the Vermont brigade at the First 
Fredericksburg Casualties of the brigade Winter quarters at White 
Oak Church Burnside's mud campaign and retirement from command. 

A glance at the general situation throughout the field of 
war, as affairs stood on the 1st of September, 1862, will show 
that important changes had taken place in the past three 
months, and that the outlook for the Union cause was not 

At the west the siege of Yicksburg had been abandoned, 
and the Confederates were conducting an offensive campaign 
in Tennessee and Kentucky. At the east, the campaign 
against Kichmond had failed ; McClellan had lost the con- 
fidence of the administration and had been virtually reduced 
to a subordinate position. General Halleck had been brought 
from the west and made general in chief of the army to direct 
operations from his headquarters at Washington, generally 
to the obstruction and disgust of the generals in the field. 
The fragmentary commands of McDowell, Banks and Sigel 
had been consolidated into the "Army of Virginia." Of 
this, General Pope had assumed command, handicapped by 
his presumptuous announcements that he had come to 


introduce the ways of the west, where they did not bother 
their heads about lines of retreat or bases of supply, and 
that his headquarters were to be in the saddle ; and by 
the disaffection of many of his subordinate generals. He 
had, with commendable activity, made menacing demonstra- 
tions along the Eapidan, which had kept Lee from interfering 
with McClellan while he was withdrawing the army of the 
Potomac from the Peninsula if indeed the Confederate 
commander cared to prevent that withdrawal. 

General Banks had fought the sanguinary, unnecessary 
and inconsequential battle of Cedar Mountain achieving a 
technical victory, but failing to cripple Jackson or to prevent 
his joining Lee. Lee, all menace to Eichmond from the 
south removed by the departure of McClellan, was arranging 
to strike and destroy Pope before he should be reinforced 
from McClellan's army. Pope, perceiving Lee's design, had 
withdrawn to the Kappahannock, defending the fords with 
his artillery for two days during which the force in his front 
was hourly increasing, and had then fallen back, with almost 
constant fighting and an infinite amount of marching and 
manoeuvring, to Gainesville. Here the battle known by that 
name was fought on the 29th ; and the next day the second 
disastrous Battle of Bull Eun, which finished Pope's cam- 
paign and career as an army commander, took place on the 
plains of Manassas. The questions, still mooted after con- 
stant discussion for twenty years, who was chiefly responsible 
for Pope's defeat ; whether or not Fitz John Porter was to 
blame for rendering such tardy and ineffective assistance 
to General Pope ; why the two corps of Franklin and Sumner, 
comprising 20,000 or 30,000 of the best fighting material 
in the Union army, were held within hearing of the battle of 
the 29th and 30th without rendering any effective assistance, 
and how much McClellan meant by his suggestion to the 
President to " leave Pope to get out of his scrape," need not 
be debated here. 


It will be enough to remember that the commander of 
the Sixth corps was a loyal lieutenant to McClellan ; and that 
while he was perhaps in no more of a hurry to move than 
the latter was to have him, he would undoubtedly have 
gone, if he had been sent. That the corps had no part 
in the fighting and did nothing of importance to arrest the 
national disaster of the second Bull Run was certainly not 
the fault of the troops, so far at least as the Vermonters were 
concerned. They heard the booming of the cannon coming 
nearer day by day. They saw the stragglers coming in and 
heard their stories of terrible fighting beyond Manassas. 
They packed knapsacks and hourly expected to move, and 
they wondered sorely as time went on, why they were not 
ordered forward. On Wednesday, after General Halleck had 
telegraphed that Franklin must move out " at once by forced 
marches," the men of the corps were ordered to have three 
days rations in their haversacks ; but they received no further 
order. On Thursday, again the order was to be ready with 
two days rations, and they were ready; but sunset came 
without any order to march. On Friday, while Pope was 
fighting at Gainesville, Franklin started ; but halted and camp- 
ed at Annandale, after a march of seven miles. On Saturday, 
while the desperate and bloody Second Bull Eun was in 
progress within plain hearing, the corps moved on, making 
scarce a mile an hour, through Fairfax Court House to 
Centreville, and thence to Cub Eun, meeting by the way 
toward nightfall, wounded men and stragglers and paroled 
prisoners streaming in by hundreds. General Pope's army 
was then in full, though not disorderly retreat ; and his rear 
guard, of Sykes's division, was making the stout and final 
stand to cover the withdrawal of the main body across Bull 
Eun, as Sykes with his battalion of regulars and the Second 
Vermont stood on Bald Hill, to cover McDowell's army, 
thirteen months before. 

At nightfall the issue of the battle in front being known, 


Franklin moved the Sixth corps back to Centreville, where it 
lay through the next day, a rainy and gloomy Sunday. On 
Monday evening it retired to Fairfax Court House. Early 
the next morning it returned toward Centreville, and lay in 
line of battle on the heights till three p. M., expecting an 
attack, which did not come. It then started for Alexandria, 
the Vermont brigade bringing up the rear, and reached camp 
near Fort Ellsworth and Fairfax Seminary, between nine 
and ten o'clock that evening, having covered in seven hours 
the distance which it used fifty hours in traversing when going, 
out. While on this march, a little before dark, the sound 
of the fight at Chantilly a sequel of the Second Bull Run 
in which the gallant General Philip Kearney and General 
Israel Stevens, who commanded the Vermont troops in the 
first reconnoisance to Lewinsville, Va., a year before, were 
killed was heard a short distance to the rear ; but it did not 
interrupt the march. The brigade remained in camp near 
Alexandria three days, and then started with the corps on 
the first campaign in Maryland. 

The first week of September, 1862, was one of active re- 
organization in the army around Washington. Pope's luckless 
campaign had ended, and his army and the Army of the 
Potomac were united within the defenses of Washington. 
Pope had resigned and General McClellan had been reinstated 
in the command, to the relief and delight of the army. Gen- 
eral Banks, with three army corps, was placed in command 
of the defences of Washington, and McClellan with five corps, 
of which the Sixth was one, marched slowly up the Potomac, 
disposing his army so as to cover both Washington and 
Baltimore. Lee had disappeared from the front of Washing- 
ton, and, as it was soon discovered, was marching to the north 
on his first invasion of a northern State. 

On Saturday, the 6th of September, the brigade broke 
camp and marched across Long Bridge, through Washington 
and Georgetown, to Tenallytown, three miles north of George- 


town, where the Sixth corps halted that night. Next day, 
the brigade lay in the woods all day till evening, when it 
marched three or four miles to the north towards Kockville, 
Md., where McClellan's headquarters were that night. In 
the next three days it moved through Eockville and Darnes- 
town to Barnesville, Md. Here, at the foot of Sugar Loaf 
Mountain, on the llth, distinct proof of the presence of the 
enemy in the vicinity was afforded by a skirmish in front 
with a reconnoitring force of Confederate cavalry and in- 
fantry, which retired before the Union advance. The brigade 
was ordered into line but was not engaged. Next day the 
brigade marched over the mountain and camped that night 
near the Baltimore & Ohio E. E. On the 13th, it moved to 
Adamstown, on the railroad, eight miles south of Frederick 

That day a copy of an important order issued by General 
Lee, which had been by a piece of rare good fortune found 
in the abandoned camp of General D. H. Hill, near that city, 
was placed in McClellan's hands. This told the Federal 
commander that Lee had divided his army, and sent four 
divisions under Generals Jackson and McLaws, to surround 
and capture the Federal garrison of 11,000 men, under Col- 
onel Miles, at Harper's Ferry. 1 McClellan thereupon des- 
patched Franklin, whose corps was on the left of his army, 
with directions to pass over the South Mountain through 
Crampton's Gap, cut off McLaws who was marching down 
upon Harper's Ferry from the Maryland side, while Jackson, 
crossing the Potomac, approached it from the "Virginia side 
and relieve Miles. This was clearly the thing to be done. 
Unfortunately it was not done quickly enough. Had Mc- 
Clellan started Franklin (whose corps lay near Buckeyston) 

1 ' ' The God of battles alone knows what would have occurred but for 
that singular accident. Certainly the loss of this battle-order constitutes 
one of the pivots on which turned the event of the war." Colonel W. H. 
Taylor, C. S. A., in " Four years with General Lee." 


that night, Franklin could have reached the mountain by 
midnight, moved through the pass the next morning, relieved 
Harper's Ferry, and made much trouble for McLaws. Two 
other corps, making a night march, such as Jackson was mak- 
ing, to Turner's Gap, six miles north of Crampton's, that 
night, could the next day have placed themselves between 
the wings of Lee's army. If Lee had not learned to count 
on McClellan's tardiness, he would never have taken so peril- 
ous a risk. He took it, as the event proved, with impunity. 
McClellan, it is true, at once ordered General Franklin 
to move ; but he did not order him to move at once. The 
order was "to move at daybreak next morning." He was 
directed to carry the pass of Crampton's Gap ; move through 
it on to the Rohrersville road in Pleasant Valley, where 
he would be over against Maryland Heights, and within 
five miles of Harper's Ferry ; cut off and destroy McLaws, 
relieve Miles, add Miles's disposable troops to the Sixth 
corps, and then occupy a position to prevent the return of 
Jackson to Lee. "My general plan," said McClellan to 
Franklin, " is to cut the enemy in two and beat him in detail. 
I ask of you all your intellect and the utmost activity that a 
general can exercise." The plan was good, the injunction 
admirable; but the activity was to begm the next day, 
whereas Jackson and McLaws were active through that night. 
They thus gained the decisive hours which McClellan and 
Franklin lost. Franklin marched at daylight. Pushing 
ahead rapidly he reached Burkittsville, at the opening of the 
Gap, about noon, and during the afternoon stormed and 
carried the pass, in spite of the stout opposition of General 
Howell Cobb, who with three brigades his own, Semmes's 
and Mahone's had been detached by General McLaws to 
hold the pass. This engagement and that at Turner's Gap 
to the north, which was carried by the First and Ninth corps 
at the same time, having a common object and occurring on 


the same day, though separated by five miles of mountain 
ridge, are known in history as the Battle of South Mountain. 
In the storming of Crampton's Gap, the Vermont brigade 
had a prominent part, to be now related. 


The village of Burkittsville, a thriving Maryland village 
of a single street half a mile long, lies at the eastern foot of 
the South Mountain range. This is there divided by a 
narrow defile, through which winds the main road across 
the Mountain, bearing to the north and rising sharply as 
soon as it leaves the village. A country road comes into 
the main road from the north, at right angles, half way up 
the slope at the entrance of the defile. This road with its- 
stone fences afforded an admirable line of defence. Cross 
roads, meeting in the throat of the defile, offered additional 
facilities for posting troops and artillery. The sides of the 
gorge were wooded, and the steep ascents and rocky ledges 
afforded remarkable advantages to the defenders of the pass. 
Of these, General Cobb had taken full advantage. Eight 
guns were posted by him in the roads and on the sides and 
rounded summit of the crest, commanding the approaches to 
the pass. Cobb's orders from his superior were to "hold the 
Gap if he lost his last man in doing it." 1 But he did not 
hold it, though he lost almost a third of his command. 

Franklin made his dispositions for the assault with ex- 
cellent judgment. The attack was commenced about three 
o'clock in the afternoon by Slocum's division, while Ayres's 
and Wolcott's batteries replied to the Confederate guns. 
Slocum's first line, consisting of Bartlett's brigade, advanced 
through the village, driving out the enemy's skirmishers, and 
up the ascent on the right of the main road, till brought to 
a stand in front of the stone wall on the right, which was 

1 General McLaws's report. 



lined with several Georgia regiments. These kept up a 
severe fire, while other Confederate troops opened a cross 
fire from the left, which threatened to compel Bartlett to 
retire. The other two brigades of Slocum's division (New- 
ton's and Torbert's) were accordingly ordered forward to sup- 
port Bartlett, while to the Vermont brigade was committed 

Engagement at Crampton's Gap, Sept. 14, 1862. 

the important task of carrying the enemy's position on the 
left by direct assault, and dislodging him from the woods 
on Slocum's flank. Brooks sent forward the Fourth Ver- 
mont, Lieut. Colonel Stoughton, and the Second, Major 
Walbridge, in two lines, the ground not admitting a wider 
front than that of a regiment, and held the rest of his 



brigade for support, in the edge of the village. Cheered . 
on as they passed through the street by a number of loyal 
women who had not left their homes in the village, the 
two regiments deployed under a plunging artillery fire 
from the heights they were to scale. The Fourth moved 
steadily up the ascent in face of sharp musketry firing from 
behind a stone fence in front, and dashed squarely at this, 
driving the Confederates from it, and taking twenty prisoners 
who had sought shelter behind a haystack. It was followed 
closely by the Second, and both regiments pushed on up the 
rocky side of the mountain, climbing the ledges and struggling 
through the bushes, till they reached the crest. Here the 
Fourth was sent to the left, to attack the battery whose fire 
from the summit had been so annoying, while the Second kept 
on over the crest and down the opposite side of the moun- 
tain. The Sixth Yirginia, Major Holliday, was cut off from 
the rest of Mahone's brigade by the promptness of the move- 
ment, and Major Holliday with five commissioned officers and 
115 men surrendered to Colonel Stoughton on the crest. 
Leaving two companies to guard the prisoners, Stoughton 
went after the battery ; but before he could reach it, it had 
limbered up and made its escape by a wood road leading 
down the mountain. The Second regiment pressed on after 
the flying enemy to the base of the mountain, as Slocum, re- 
lieved by Brook's movement from resistance on his flank* 
gallantly carried the position on the right of the road. Thus 
driven from his positions on right and left, the enemy fell 
back through the defile and down the mountain in great con- 
fusion. The way through the Gap being left clear by these 
operations, the Third, Fifth and Sixth regiments followed 
the other two regiments by the road, without opposition. 
Perceiving how things were going in the Gap, General 
Cobb sent forward his reserve on the double quick ; but it 
arrived only in time to participate in the rout ; and his entire 
command, less some 700 men killed, wounded and captured, 


made a rapid retreat, till he was halted in the Yalley, by 
General McLaws, who had been hurrying up with Wilcox's 
brigade from Maryland Heights but only arrived in time to 
cover Cobb's retreat. 

At the base of the mountain the skirmishers of the Ver- 
mont brigade found a 12-lb. howitzer, partially disabled, and 
brought it in, with the horses attached to it. McLaws 
rallied the retreating Confederates, and with what was left 
of Cobb, Semmes and Mahone, and other troops of his 
division, formed a defensive line across Pleasant Yalley 
a mile and a half below the Gap ; while Franklin halted 
at the western foot of it. 

In this affair, which the Comte de Paris calls the " bril- 
liant combat of Crampton's Gap", Franklin lost 110 offi- 
cers and men killed, and 420 wounded, the severest loss 
being in Bartlett's brigade. The promptness and unexpected 
character of the movement of the Vermont regiments saved 
them from serious loss, and the Fourth Vermont had but one 
man killed and 14 wounded ; the Second Vermont five men 
wounded ; and the Sixth Vermont one officer, Captain Barney, 
and two men wounded ; total, 23. General Franklin states 
that he buried 150 of the enemy and took charge of over 300 
of their wounded left on the field ; and that he captured in all 
400 prisoners, from 17 different organizations, with one piece 
of artillery, 700 muskets and three stands of colors. General 
McLaws says in his report: "The loss in the brigades 
engaged was, in killed, wounded and missing, very large, 
and the remnant collected to make front across the valley, 
very small ;" and a month later he speaks of Cobb's, Semmes's 
and Mahone's brigades as having been "badly crippled at 
Crampton's Gap." 

The other results of this success were by no means what 
they might have been. It was perhaps too near dark when 
the Gap was carried, to have accomplished much more that 
night ; but in the evening Franklin was joined by Couch's divi- 


sion of the Fourth corps, giving him a force decidedly superior 
to that of McLaws ; and had he attacked the latter at day- 
light he might even then have prevented the fall of Harper's 
Ferry, or if that were not possible could have offset the loss 
of Miles's command by the destruction or capture of Mc- 
Laws's. But though McClellan had sent him distinct orders 
during the night to attack and destroy such of the enemy as 
he found before him in Pleasant Yalley, and if possible to 
relieve Miles, Franklin did nothing on the 15th. At half-past 
eight o'clock that morning the white flag was raised by Miles 
at Harper's Ferry ; but the surrender was not complete till 
an hour later. At nine o'clock, Colonel Stannard and the 
Ninth Vermont, of the garrison, were still seeking for a 
chance to cut their way out, while three strong Union divi- 
sions had been standing since daylight in Pleasant Yalley, 
but six miles away, in full hearing of Jackson's artillery. 
The cessation of the cannonading, and the cheering of the 
Confederates on Maryland Heights, told these, about nine 
o'clock, that Harper's Ferry had surrendered. 

Franklin did nothing that day* but to move down the 
Valley a mile or two, and occupy the Brownsville Gap, a 
mile below Crampton's, to which the Sixth Maine and the 
left wing of the Fourth Vermont, under Major Foster, were 
sent in the morning. These drove back the enemy's pickets 
and guarded the lower pass for that day and night. During 
the day Franklin received directions from McClellan, after 
the latter had learned of Miles's surrender, to remain where 
he was and "watch the large force in front" of him. But 
the watch maintained by Franklin did not prevent McLaws 
from withdrawing his division across the Potomac that day, 
or from marching the next night to join Lee on the battle- 
field of the Antietam. 



During the first day of this battle, a terribly hot day, the 
Vermont brigade lay, with the rest of Franklin's command, 
in Pleasant Valley, listening to the booming of artillery which 
came from the northwest, over the mountain ridge in front, 
beginning in the forenoon, and increasing heavily the latter 
part of the afternoon, as Hooker with the First corps moved 
across the Antietam and attacked the left of Lee's line in 
front of Sharpsburg. 

The next day was the main day of the battle. The story 
ot it has been admirably told by Colonel Palfrey of Massa- 
chusetts, and other historians ; and only a few 
Sept. 17, 1862. J 

of the more important points of it need be 

noted here. The opposing armies numbered, in round num- 
bers, 40,000 under Lee, and 80,000 under McClellan. Lee 
used every man he could bring into line. 1 McClellan fought 
the battle with 50,000 men two corps, numbering 30,000, 
being hardly used at all by him. Lee fought a defensive 
battle, greatly favored by the strength of his position, in 
which his flanks were protected by the bends of the Potomac 
and his front covered by the stream and valley of the 
Antietam. On McClellan's part, the fighting was not the 
simultaneous assault which he had planned, and which would 
probably have made his victory far more decisive; but a 
series of attacks bravely, often desperately, made, yet with 
such want of concert between the several corps that Lee, 
having the inner side of the curve, was able to reinforce in 
turn his hardly pressed lines at the points where they were 
assailed, and to prevent a serious break in them anywhere. 

The battle was opened on the right, as soon as the early 
morning mists had risen, by Hooker, who had crossed the 
Antietam and had done some indecisive fighting the afternoon 

1 "Every man was engaged we had no reserve." Colonel Walter H. 
Taylor, of Lee's staff. 


before. He was now opposed by Jackson's two divisions 
his own "Stonewall" division and Swell's with six bat- 
teries, aided later by several batteries and brigades of other 
divisions. It was Greek meeting Greek, and the carnage was 
terrible on each side. In the words of Colonel Palfrey, "the 
two lines almost tore each other to pieces." The contest 
raged most hotly around a certain cornfield on the east side 
of the Hagerstown pike, and the woods between it and the 
Dunker chapel. Over this part of the field the tides of 
battle swept to and fro in successive waves. Before nine 
o'clock, Hooker had been wounded and his corps cut pretty 
much to pieces, and it had been reinforced and its place sub- 
stantially taken by the Twelfth corps, whose commander, 
General Mansfield, was killed as he was deploying his lines. 
In the course of an hour or two of bloody fighting the 
Twelfth corps, though it gained some ground, had been 
brought to a stand; and Sumner advanced to relieve it 
with the Second corps. Sedgwick's division led the assault, 
and swept forward over the cornfield. He was attacked 
in turn by Jackson and McLaws with ten Confederate brig- 
ades, and driven back with frightful loss. The other two 
divisions of the corps, French's and Richardson's, had mean- 
time become engaged and suffered severely the latter losing 
its gallant comAander, General Israel B. Richardson one 
of Vermont's bravest sons and one of the best soldiers in the 
army mortally wounded. Three of the six corps of Mc- 
Clellan's army had thus in turn attacked on the right ; but 
while inflicting tremendous losses upon the enemy they had 
failed to permanently dislodge Lee's left ; and at noon were 
merely holding their own. 

In the next and last stage of the battle on the right, 
Franklin's corps, and Smith's division, and the Yermont 
brigade, took part. 

To go back to the morning and to Pleasant Valley, Gen- 
eral Franklin, first sending Couch's division to Harper's Ferry 


to lock the stable door after the horse had been stolen, start- 
ed at half past five A. M., under McClellan's orders, toward the 
battlefield, six miles away. Smith's division led the column, 
and arrived on the field a little before ten o'clock. It took 
position at first in a piece of woods on the left of the stone 
bridge, known as the " Burnside Bridge," to the left of the 
centre of McClellan's line. It was soon hurried farther on, 
and across the river and round to the right to the assistance 
of Sumner. The time was a critical one. Sedgwick had made 
a gallant advance ; but being unsupported on either right or 
left and taken on each flank and even in the rear by superior 
numbers massed against him, had narrowly escaped utter 
annihilation. Sumner's other two divisions had attacked 
the Confederate centre ; but striking it at some distance 
to the left of Sedgwick, had not made any effective diversion 
in his favor, or secured any important advantage, though they 
had done some severe fighting. Eichardson and Crawford 
had fallen. Sedgwick had been thrice wounded and obliged 
to leave the field. His division had partially given way, with 
a loss of over 2,500 men, and Jackson was preparing to push 
his advantage by striking again his undefended left flank, 
when Smith came to his relief. Smith's leading brigade, 
Hancock's, approached within canister distance of the enemy, 
broke the lines and silenced the Confederate batteries in 
front of it, and held its ground. Brooks's Vermont brigade 
came next, and was at first hurried to Sumner's right ; but 
was presently brought back to the assistance of French's 
division. Smith's third brigade, Irwin's, was placed by him 
on the left of Hancock's, and advanced, driving back the 
opposing lines, till it came abreast of the Dunker Church, 
which marked the line of Sumner's advance. The Vermont 
brigade was sent to the left of Irwin, where it joined on to 
the right of French, whose division, thus reinforced, filled the 
gap through which McLaws and Early had previously 
pressed, to Sedgwick's sorrow. Smith intended that the 


Vermont brigade should support Irwin, in his advanced posi- 
tion, and had such support been rendered, a decisive ad- 
vantage might have been gained at that point. Brooks, how- 
ever, had been withdrawn by Sumner 1 and posted, with a 
portion of French's command, behind a low crest. The 
brigade made a handsome advance and came under a sharp 
fire of artillery, as it moved into position on French's right ; 
but the enemy's lines in its front having fallen back, it had 
little fighting to do and suffered comparatively little loss. 3 
The Vermont regiments stood in line all that afternoon, while 
Burnside with the Ninth corps, after hours of most unfortu- 
nate and unaccountable delay, was forcing the passage of the 
stone bridge, and making the final indecisive assault on Lee's 
right. Night fell on them, in this position. The ground in 
front of McClellan's right and centre was so much fought over 
by different brigades and divisions that it has been found 
difficult to locate beyond dispute the point reached by 
Brooks's brigade. But it advanced in line of battle over a 
cornfield, strewn with dead and there is little doubt that it 
was "the historic cornfield" of Antietam. Mr. George W 
Smalley, the N. Y. Tribune's army correspondent, writing from 

1 General Smith complains of this warmly, in his report, saying : "It 
is not the first or the second time during a battle that my command has 
been dispersed by orders from an officer superior in rank to the general 
commanding this corps, and I must assert that I have never known any 
good to arise from such a method of fighting a battle, and think the con- 
trary rule should be adopted of keeping commands intact." The first 
time probably was at Williamsburg, when Sumner refused to let Smith 
send his second and third brigades to join Hancock ; and the second at 
Savage's Station, where the division was divided and sent in on the two 
extremes of Sumner's line. 

2 " The Vermont brigade was sent to the assistance of French's divi- 
sion, who having expended their ammunition, were making feeble resistance 
to the enemy. The Vermonters behaved with their usual gallantry, resisting 
the advance of the enemy, and although frequently subjected to the fire of 
artillery, they held their ground bravely. The brigade was composed of 
men who could always be depended on to do what they were ordered to 
do." Three Tears in the Sixth Corps. 


the field, says : "At this crisis, when all we had gained upon 
our right had been wrested from us, Franklin came up with 
fresh troops. * * * Smith was ordered to retake the 
cornfields and woods which had been so hotly contested. It 
was done in the handsomest style. His Maine and Vermont 
regiments and the rest went forward on the run, and, cheer- 
ing as they went, swept like an avalanche through the corn- 
field, fell upon the woods, cleared them in ten minutes, and 
held them. They were not again retaken. The field and its 
ghastly harvest remained finally with us. Four times it had 
been lost and won. The dead are strewn so thickly that as 
you ride over it you cannot guide your horse's steps too 
carefully. * * * Smith's attack was so sudden that his 
success was accomplished with no great loss." 

The loss in the Vermont brigade was indeed surprisingly 
small, aggregating but 25 killed and wounded. The Second 
Vermont had five men wounded. The Third, one officer and 
three men wounded. The Fourth, one man killed and five 
wounded. The Fifth, two men wounded; and the Sixth, 
eight men wounded. This though the men were for some 
time under what General Brooks who does not use big 
words calls "a galling fire of both artillery and sharp- 
shooters ;" but they were kept close to the ground when not 
moving, and the shell and grape flew over them without doing 
much damage. General Brooks himself would not lie down, 
but moved to and fro on foot along his lines, a constant 
mark for the enemy's sharpshooters. In the course of the 
afternoon a bullet struck him in the mouth, knocking out 
two teeth. A man ran to him and asked if he was wounded. 
"No," replied the gruff old soldier, spitting out a molar, 
"had a tooth pulled." Though in serious pain, he did not 
leave the lines till after dark. 

At sundown the roar of battle ceased, and the heated 
cannon were allowed to cool, and the wounded were gathered 
from the field and the unwounded sought food and rest. 


"The blessed night came and brought with it sleep and re- 
freshment to many; but the murmur of the night wind 
breathing over fields of wheat and clover, was mingled with 
the groans of the countless sufferers of both armies." * All 
that night the Vermonters lay on their arms in the front line. 
They had little sleep, for the skirmishers in front were firing 
at every moving form, and they fully expected a renewal of 
the battle in the morning. They remained all the next day in 
the same place, while burying parties, under a flag of truce 
asked for by Lee, were burying the dead. In not renewing 
the contest on Thursday morning General McClellan made 
the mistake of his life-time. He had lost 11,500 men killed 
and wounded and 1,000 missing; but he had inflicted equal 
or greater loss on the enemy ; and Lee could far less afford 
the loss. McClellan had two corps substantially intact. He 
had over 60,000 men upon the ground against 30,000 the 
latter the more hardly marched and fought, and most ex- 
hausted. He waited a day and night, during which Hum- 
phrey's and Couch's divisions arrived, and then gave orders 
to attack at daylight on the 19th ; but at daylight Lee was 
gone. His invasion of the North had come to an end, on the 
very banks of the Potomac ; and he postponed to a later day 
the assistance to the people of Maryland in throwing off "the 
foreign yoke" of the national government, which, on his 
entrance of the State, he had proclaimed his purpose to 
render. On the 19th, the Sixth corps moved forward over 
the field, on which hundreds of dead still lay blackening 
in the sun and tainting all the air with sickening stench, 
through the streets of Sharpsburg, filled with disabled 
wagons and strewn with knapsacks and guns, past houses 
riddled by shell and churches filled with rebel wounded ; and 
bivouacked for the night between the village and the Poto- 
mac. Next day, marching back through Sharpsburg and 

Colonel Palfrey. 


again over the battlefield, it turned to the north and moved 
up the river, twelve miles, to Williamsport. 

On the 23d, the Sixth corps moved out to Bakersville on 
the Hagerstown pike, and thence on the 26th to Hagerstown. 
Here it remained a month, while McClellan was reorganizing 
his army and Lee was holding the Shenandoah Valley and 
destroying railroads in that region. General Brooks was ap- 
pointed military governor of Hagerstown a thriving city of 
5,000 inhabitants and his regiments did duty as provost 

It was a quiet time at Hagerstown. No enemy was 
near. The inhabitants of the region were at least nominally 
friendly, and had plenty of poultry and fresh vegetables to 
sell. The camps were pleasant. No weary searches at the 
end of hard marches were needed to find wood and water. 
The men resumed their long interrupted occupations of 
drilling and loafing, the latter varied by earnest discussions 
of the probable effect of the Emancipation Proclamation, 
just issued by President Lincoln, to take effect on the first of 
January following. 

On the 10th of October, the army received a sensation, 
from Stuart's second raid. Lee, as much puzzled as the 
authorities at Washington to divine what was keeping the 
Army of the Potomac so long in Maryland, sent out Stuart 
with 1,500 cavalry, and orders to "ascertain the position and 
designs of the enemy." He crossed the Potomac above 
"Williamsport, penetrated to Chambersburg, Pa., where he 
destroyed a good deal of government property; and while 
General McClellan was telegraphing to Washington that none 
of the rebels should return to Virginia, and was sending 
troops here and there in Maryland to points where Stuart 
had been, the latter completed his second ride entirely round 
the Union army, and returned to Virginia, well supplied with 
new clothing and shoes, and with fresh horses found in the 
stables of the Pennsylvania farmers. During the stir oc- 


casioned by this episode the Second and Fifth regiments 
were hastily loaded into cars and sent to Chambersburg on 
the llth. But Stuart had departed before they started, and 
they returned to Hagerstown on the 16th. 

While in camp at Hagerstown, the Yermont brigade 
received an accession of 250 recruits, sent down from Ver- 
mont ; and the Twenty-sixth New Jersey, Colonel Morrison, 
a new nine months regiment, 1,000 strong, was attached 
to the brigade the first and only mixture of troops of any 
other State, during its existence. The Jerseymen were not 
altogether a congenial element in the brigade; but they 
looked up to the Yermonters as veterans, and profited by 
their association with them. 1 

At Hagerstown the brigade lost by his promotion the 
blunt, brave and trusty commander, under whom it had thus 
far marched and fought, and to whose soldierly example and 
instruction its officers and men owed so much. General 
Brooks was assigned to the command of the First division of 
the Sixth corps, upon General Slocum's appointment to the 
command of the Twelfth corps, and took his leave of the 
brigade with mutual reluctance and respect, which found 

1 " We were emphatically a green regiment," says an officer of the 
Twenty-sixth New Jersey, quoted in New Jersey in the Rebellion, p. 540, 
" when we entered on active service. But we had one great advantage. We 
were brigaded with veterans, and with veterans, too, who had won a high 
reputation in the Peninsula and Maryland campaigns. Their example was 
our real teacher in the Art of War." The lessons taught the Jerseymen 
were not confined to the art of war. On one occasion, some men of the 
Second Vermont, having repeatedly lost some of their fresh meat, which 
they had reason to believe went into the camp of the Twenty-sixth New 
Jersey, killed and dressed Colonel Morrison's fat New Foundland dog and 
hung his carcass in the quartermaster's store tent. As they expected, it 
was purloined that night by some of the New Jersey boys, who took it for 
fat mutton. The Vermonters were on the watch, tracked the dog-meat 
into the camp of the Twenty-sixth, and ascertained that it was served next 
day on the tables of several messes of the New Jersey officers. Of course 
the story soon ran through the brigade, and the New Jersey boys visiting 
the other camps for some time after were greeted with numerous bow wows 
"by way of friendly salutation. 


expression on the part of General Brooks, in the following 

general order : 

Smith's Division, Oct. 21, 1862. j 

The brigadier general commanding this brigade hereby relinquishes its 
command. In thus terminating an official connection which has existed 
for precisely a year, the general commanding experiences much regret. 
He is not unmindful that his own reputation has been identified with and 
dependent upon that of those who have served under him ; and it is with 
great gratification that he thanks them for the noble manner in which they 
have sustained him, in the performance of his arduous duties in camp and 
field. He will watch their future career with deep interest, and trusts he 
will ever have occasion to feel proud that his name has been associated 
with the Vermont brigade. 

By order of Brig. General Brooks. 

THEODORE READ, Captain and A. A. G. 

A meeting of the officers of the brigade was held to 
arrange to present to General Brooks a testimonial of their 
regard. It was proposed among other things that a fine 
horse and equipments be purchased for him. An officer rose 
and said it was very well to talk about buying a horse for 
General Brooks ; but he would like to know who was bold 
enough to undertake the task of presenting it to him. It 
was thereupon suggested that the horse might be fastened in 
front of the general's quarters at night, with a note attached 
to the bridle, stating for whom it was designed and from 
whom it came. A beautiful table service of solid silver was 
subsequently procured by the officers of the brigade and pre- 
sented to the general, who received it with tears standing on 
his cheeks and a voice too much choked by emotion to permit 
him to make formal reply. 1 

1 General Brooks resigned from the army, July 14, 1864. He resided 
in Hunts ville, Ala., after the close of the war, and died there in 1870. He 
always retained and often expressed his high opinion of the Vermont troops, 
and he is remembered with respect and affection by all who served under 
him. He was alluded to, by a speaker, at one of the army reunions, as 
"the author, foander and finisher of the Old Brigade," and the Reunion 
Society of Vermont Officers, at its meeting in 1872, adopted resolutions of 
high respect for his memory, declaring that the reputation of the First 


The ostensible and to some extent real cause of the delay 
of the Army of the Potomac in Maryland, for six weeks after 
Lee had returned to Virginia, was lack of supplies of clothing 
and shoes. But as the needs of the Sixth corps, which were 
as great as those of any part of the army, were not supplied 
in these respects when they finally marched, it was plain 
that the army could have moved in its old clothing. The 
Vermont brigade especially was much in need of undercloth- 
ing, overcoats and blankets. 

At last, in the last week of October, the army began to 
move ,the advance crossing the Potomac on the 26th. On the 
28th, the Sixth co$ps received marching orders ; and on the 
29th broke camp and moved to Williamsport, camping for the 
night in the oak groves where it had camped five weeks 
before. Next day it marched down through Boonsboro to 
Pleasant Valley, and the next filed through Crampton's Gap 
and Burkittsville, halting and spending Sunday, November 
1st, in a charming valley near Berlin, Md. Here the next 
morning it crossed the Potomac on pontoon bridges, marched 
through Lovettsville, and on to the south along the base of 
the Blue Eidge, and then across the Valley to White Plains 
east of Thoroughfare Gap, where it remained during a storm 
of sleet and snow, which lasted all day of the 7th, and the 8th. 
On the 9th, it moved to New Baltimore on the Warrenton 
pike, in the southernmost gap of the Bull Eun Mountains, 
the general headquarters of the army being at Warrenton. 

Here the corps and the army rested a week, during which 
important changes in the commands of both took place. 
General McClellan, the popular idol of 1861, and still the 
idol of most of the army, was relieved of the command, and 
was succeeded by General Burnside. The army was divided 
into three grand divisions. Franklin was appointed to the 

Vermont brigade "was largely the fruit of the vigorous instruction, the 
impartial discipline, the soldierly example, and the inspiring patriotism of 
General Brooks." 


command of the Left Grand Division, and Sumner and 
Hooker to the commands of the other two grand divisions. 
Maj. General William F. Smith succeeded Franklin in the 
command of the Sixth corps, and Brig. General A. P. Howe 
was appointed to the command of the Second division, of 
which the Vermont brigade was a part General Brooks 
remaining in command of the First division. Colonel 
Whiting of the Second Vermont, the ranking colonel of the 
Vermont brigade, succeeded to the command thereof, on the 
promotion of General Brooks. 

None of these changes were particularly gratifying at 
the time to the Vermont troops. In common with a large 
portion of the army, they as a body retained confidence in 
General McClellan (though some of the best soldiers in the 
brigade had ceased to share it,) and somehow could not feel 
it to be a serious crime that he had not marched them harder 
and fought them more desperately. They knew nothing of 
the neglect, not to say disobedience, of orders, on his part, 
which had so sorely tried the much enduring President ; and 
they thought it "hard lines" that he should be superseded 
so soon after he had beaten Lee and driven him out of Mary- 
land. They had nothing against Burnside, for he was known 
as the friend and admirer of McClellan, and a frank, generous 
and patriotic soldier. The army did not know how much he 
distrusted his own ability for the chief command, though 
some of those highest in rank did, and shared his distrust; 
but whatever he was he could not take McClellan's place in 
the confidence and affection of the army. The new division 
commander, General Howe, had commanded the second 
brigade of Couch's division, which was attached to the Sixth 
corps during the Maryland campaign. Howe was a New 
Englander, a native of Maine, a West Point graduate, a good 
disciplinarian and brave soldier, who earned the respect of his 
troops during the year or more in which he commanded the 
division, and who came to hold the highest opinion of the 


Vermont troops. But he was nqw to them at this time, and 
could not have been expected at once to fill the place of 
General Smith in their regard. Neither could Colonel 
Whiting fill the place of General Brooks. The officers and 
men pretty generally approved of him in camp ; for he un- 
derstood his business, took good care of his troops, and 
insisted on the regular order of promotions in the regiments ; 
but all knew that fighting was not congenial business to him ; 
and that he could not be relied on for presence of mind, nor 
indeed always for presence of body, in emergencies. 

General McClellan gave the Sixth corps and the army a 
farewell review, at New Baltimore, on the 10th, when his fare- 
well address was read, and he was greeted with hearty 
cheers, as, accompanied by General Burnside and an impos- 
ing cavalcade, he rode along the lines, while the batteries 
fired salutes and the bands played "Hail to the Chief." 

On the 15th of November, Burnside, having completed 
the reorganization of the army, which was now a well 
equipped body of 125,000 men, and secured the reluctant 
assent of the administration to a movement on Richmond by 
the way of Fredericksburg, began his march for the Rappa- 
hannock. Whiting's brigade at this time numbered about 
3,200 officers and men, the Vermont regiments having about 
500 each, present for duty, and the New Jersey regiment 
about 700. 

On the morning of the 16th, the Sixth corps broke 
camp, moved out through the desolate and deserted village 
of New Baltimore, crossed the Orange and Alexandria Rail- 
road at Catlett's Station, and camped two miles beyond 
near the Virginia "village" of Weaverville, consisting of a 
mill and a blacksmith shop. The next two days' marches, of 
about ten miles each, through the pine and oak barrens, 
brought the corps to the banks of Acquia Creek, four miles 
north of Stafford Court House, around which General Frank- 
lin concentrated his grand division, while Sumner took his 


grand division to the Bappahannock at Falmouth, opposite 
Fredericksburg, and Hooker was held a few miles back. 
Here the army remained for eight days, while Burnside was 
waiting for pontoons the delay of which, through fault of 
General Halleck or some subordinate, cost Burnside the op- 
portunity to occupy Fredericksburg unopposed and making 
preparations to force the passage after it had become plain 
that Lee was in force on the opposite bank. During this 
quiet week the troops stockaded their tents, built fire places* 
and had made themselves very comfortable in camp by 
Thanksgiving Day, November 27th. This was a clear and 
pleasant day; and though no "boxes " from home could come 
to help out the army rations, the men were not altogether 
destitute or unhappy, and were preparing to celebrate the 
day, when marching orders interfered. The Second and 
Fifth regiments were left to guard the telegraph lines and 
roads above Acquia Creek Landing, while the other four regi- 
ments packed knapsacks, pulled the tents off from the stock- 
ades, and starting in the forenoon, marched five or six miles 
to the south, halting and pitching their tents by moonlight, 
south of Potomac Creek. Here they remained several days. 
The first week in December gave the troops some arduous ex- 
perience of cold rains, mud and snow, during which the 
inevitable picket duty became at times a service of severe 
exposure. On the 6th of December, the brigade moved again 
with the division, some six miles, over ground frozen hard 
enough to bear the army wagons, halting four or five miles 
from Belle Plain, and five or six miles north of Skinker's 
Neck, where Burnside at first contemplated making his 
crossing of the Bappahannock. The weather was severely 
cold. The brigade trains did not get along till the next 
morning. The men huddled under their shelter tents with two 
inches of snow for bedding, and the tentless officers crouched 
around camp fires in the woods. Six sick soldiers, in another 
brigade of the corps, died in the ambulances that bitter 


night. 1 On the 10th, the Second and Fifth regiments joined 
the brigade ; and on the llth the whole army was in motion 
for the Rappahannock. 


The fortnight's delay had given Lee all the time he 
needed for preparation to meet the movement. He had 
concentrated his army of about 80,000 men 2 about Freder- 
icksburg, and had strongly fortified the heights which encircle 
the town. His army occupied Fredericksburg and the ridge 
or brow, with a higher ridge behind it, which begins at the 
river bank above the Falmouth Ford, and extends behind 
the town nearly parallel to the river for six miles, to the 
Massaponax, a tributary of the Kappahannock, emptying into 
it about five miles below the town. On the plain, three 
quarters of a mile to a mile and a half wide, between the 
ridge and the river, here from three hundred to four hun- 
dred yards wide, stood and stands the quaint old town of 
Fredericksburg, the place of the death and burial of the 
mother of "Washington, and a town of 4,000 inhabitants 
before the war. The ground on the north bank is of some- 
what similar formation to that on the south, though the 
heights are lower, and much nearer the river. The ground 
on the north side favored a crossing, for it was easy to post 
batteries enough to command the points selected for the 
bridges. But the crossing effected, Burnside was just where 
Lee wanted him ; and the latter must have witnessed with 
a stern pleasure the preparations which were made by the 
Federal commander to dash his army against the terraced 
heights along which lay the Confederate lines. 

The Union generals, on their part, were not blind to the 
hazards of the effort, and many of them viewed it with 

1 Surgeon Stevens, Seventy-seventh New York. 

8 His aggregate present for duty December 10th, was 78,228. 

DEC 13 TN 1862 


strong forebodings of disaster. Hooker strongly advised 
Burnside not to attack. The vagueness and fluctuations of 
Burnside's plan, the confusion and contradictions of orders, 
the want of concert of action, and other causes of his failure, 
have long been fruitful subjects of discussion ; but they need 
not be discussed here. 

The battle was chiefly fought on the 13th of December, 
though the various movements of advance and retreat occu- 
pied five days. On the llth, the pontoon bridges, five in 
number, were laid, not without serious annoyance, delay 
and loss from the enemy's sharpshooters, especially at the 
bridges opposite the town. A striking feature of this day 
was a bombardment of the city by a hundred guns, posted 
on the crests on the north bank. This fired the town 
in various places, but had little other effect. The 12th was 
consumed in marching the various corps across the bridges, 
taking position on the south bank, and reconnoitring the 
the enemy's position in front. The 13th was occupied from 
eleven o'clock in the forenoon till night with successive 
attacks on the enemy's positions, made from the right, under 
Sumner, against the Confederate left and centre, held by 
Longstreet, and from the Union left, under Franklin, against 
the Confederate right, held by Jackson's corps. These attacks 
had one fate. The Union columns all suffered severely from 
the fire of the Confederate batteries, while advancing across 
the plain, but pushed forward to the foot of the heights and 
to the stone walls which sheltered the enemy's infantry ; and 
then fell back in shattered masses, without anywhere estab- 
lishing a permanent lodgment. " Six times," says General 
Lee, " did the enemy, notwithstanding the havoc caused by 
our batteries, press on with great determination to within one 
hundred yards of the foot of the hill ; but here encountering 
the deadly fire of our infantry his columns were broken and 
fled in confusion." There was not, in point of fact, so much 
of this fleeing "in confusion" as may be supposed; but 


division after division was driven back with heavy loss. 
Hancock lost in round numbers 2,000 men, French 1,200, 
Sturgis 1,000, Humphreys 1,000, and so on through a terribly 
bloody list. 

No assault was made by any division of the Sixth corps > 
and grave fault was found with General Franklin because he 
did not use that corps and the rest of the 50,000 men under his 
command, in a much more formidable attack from the Union 
left, than was made. Franklin was even charged by Burnside 
and the charge was sustained by a report of the Com- 
mittee on the Conduct of the War with causing the defeat 
of the army by his failure to attack with all the force he could 
use ; and for this he was soon after relieved of his command, 
with very serious detriment to his reputation as a soldier. 
But his reply to the charge, and the facts and orders in the 
case, have left it to this day an open question, whether or no 
Burnside meant at the time, as he subsequently said he 
meant that the main assault on Lee's position should be 
made by Franklin. The latter averred most earnestly that 
he did not so understand his orders ; and the orders were so 
confused and contradictory as not to compel such an under- 
standing of them. Whether the general result would have 
been different if Burnside had dashed twice as many men 
against the heights is doubtful, in view of the immense 
strength of the enemy's position, and of the character of the 
commander and troops Stonewall Jackson and his corps 
opposed to Franklin. One thing is pretty certain that if the 
main attack had been made by Franklin, the Sixth corps 
would have had a prominent share in it ; and the Vermont 
colonels, in common with the rest, would have had to report 
far longer lists of killed and wounded. As it was, the Sixth 
corps and Howe's division and the Vermont brigade were by 
no means idle or out of danger. 

Of the four corps arrayed by Burnside on the plain of 
Fredericksburg, the Sixth was placed on the left centre, the 


order of battle being, from right to left, Second, Ninth, 
Sixth and First corps. The position of the Sixth corps was 
along the Old Richmond Stage road, otherwise known as the 
Bowling Green road, on both sides of Deep Eun, over against, 
and half a mile from Franklin's bridges. " The divisions of 
Howe and Brooks," says General Franklin in his reply to the 
report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, "were 
the two divisions on which I had to rely, to protect my right, 
centre, and bridges." These were posted on Friday, the 
12th, Brooks on the right, holding a portion of the Stage 
road, with a line in front of Deep Eun, and Howe on his left 
along the crest of a hill, with his right at a sharp turn of Deep 
Eun. A skirmish line was thrown out in front nearly to the 
Eichmond and Fredericksburg railroad, which runs about 
half way between the Eichmond Stage road and the heights. 
The orders to Howe and Brooks were to hold the position 
and not to advance unless it became necessary, in a general 
attack. Under these orders they remained for the most part 
stationary, while the advances and heavy fighting and useless 
sacrifices of life took place to the right and left of them, on 
Saturday. Their skirmish lines in front, however, were con- 
stantly and often sharply engaged, both on Saturday and 
Sunday ; and it was on the skirmish line that the Vermont 
regiments were employed, and suffered such loss as they 

Describing their part in the battle more in detail, the 
brigade marched in the morning of Thursday, the llth, from 
its camp, five miles back from the river, with Howe's divi- 
sion, which reached the bank of the Eappahannock in the 
forenoon. As they passed over Stafford Heights, its brow 
grim with batteries at points stretching for three miles to 
the right, the valley opened before them. Fog and the 
smoke from the Confederate batteries hid most of the 
opposite bank till noon. On the left bank the engineers and 
working parties were laying the bridges, and hard at work 


in spite of the rebel sharpshooters and occasional artillery 
fire from across the river. About noon the bombardment of 

the city, before mentioned, opened from over a 
Dec. 11, 1862. J ' 

hundred guns; and the roar of artillery and 

screaming of the shells, the rising clouds of white smoke from 
the guns, and the dense pillars of darker smoke defined against 
the background of fog across the river, as the fires kindled by 
the shells gained headway in the city, offered stirring sounds 
and sights. At four o'clock p. M., the construction of Frank- 
lin's bridges, three in number, was so far advanced that the 
Sixth corps was ordered to cross, and marched down to the 
plain ; but the hour was too late to effect a crossing and to 
occupy a defensive position on the other bank before dark, 
and the corps was ordered back to the hills and bivouacked 
there on the frozen ground. 

At daylight next morning the crossing was effected, 
Howe following Brooks and taking position on his left. When 
formed on the right bank the Sixth corps advanced half a 
mile and took position on the old Richmond stage road, 
Brooks and Howe in front and Newton's division in reserve. 
From the heights, some 1,500 yards away, the enemy's bat- 
teries, as soon as the fog lifted sufficiently to disclose the 
movement, opened a spasmodic fire. 

Howe's division was formed in three lines, its right rest- 
ing on the ravine of Deep Run, Pratt's brigade in front, with 
two batteries in its line and two more on its right and left, 
Vinton's brigade next, and the Vermont brigade forming the 
third line. The division held this position during the after- 
noon of Friday and the next two days and nights, the 
positions of the brigades being interchanged, however, each 
brigade in turn taking the front for a day and night. During 
Friday night the enemy, in addition to his batteries on the 
heights, brought down 21 guns to the sloping edge of the 
plain, near "the Bernard cabins," to the front and left of 
Howe's division, and some sharp artillery duels were main- 


tainecl between them and the Union batteries during the day 
on Saturday and on Sunday morning. The fighting on the 
skirmish line was continuous and active. General Franklin 
says: "Smith's line of skirmishers was nearly constantly 
engaged." General Smith says: "Our skirmish line was 
engaged nearly all the time." General Howe calls the 
skirmish line of his division " an angry skirmish line," and 
elsewhere mentions the "sharp clashes of the skirmish lines/* 
and the " constant activity " of the skirmishers. 

In this skirmishing all of the Vermont regiments but the 
Sixth took active part. The Second Vermont, under Lieut. 
Colonel Joyce, was sent forward on Friday to the skirmish 
line, which was advanced, the Confederate skirmishers being 
driven back for some distance. An effort of the enemy to 
restore his line, just before night, was repulsed. The Con- 
federates advanced confidently, but were received by the 
Second, whose picket reserve was partially sheltered by a 
ditch, with a volley, which sent them back, leaving several 
prisoners in the hands of the Second. On Saturday morn- 
ing, the enemy, of Fender's brigade, having strengthened his 
skirmish line, again endeavored to drive back the skirmish 
line of Howe's division; "bufc," says General Howe, "they 
immediately came into collision with those hardy veterans of 
the Vermont brigade, under Lieut. Colonel Joyce of the 
Second Vermont, and were handsomely repulsed, and them- 
selves driven back." 1 

A more formidable attack was made on Howe's line, on 
Saturday afternoon, immediately after the repulse of Frank- 
lin's main assault from the left. The attacking force was 
Law's brigade (of North Carolina and Alabama troops) of 
Hood's division, and a portion of Fender's brigade. It was 
repulsed chiefly by the Vermonters, the Third Vermont hav- 

1 While this skirmish was in progress, General Vinton, commanding 
The Third brigade, rode up to the skirmish line and was severely wounded 
in the abdomen. 


ing a specially prominent part. While the preparations for 
the attack were in visible progress in front, the Third, which 
was on the right of the brigade, was ordered forward to a 
point near the railroad, on the edge of the ravine of Deep 
Bun. The regiment was taken thither by Lieut. Colonel 
Seaver ', who led it up through the ravine, and deployed it 
along the edge, which was fringed at that point with growing 
timber. It came out right on the flank of Law's brigade, 
which was then charging Howe's line, to the left, and opened 
on it a raking fire, under which it broke and retired with 
heavy loss. Law reported a loss of 214 men killed and 
wounded in this operation, and the Sixteenth North Carolina, 
of Fender's brigade, which participated in the movement, 
lost 54 officers and men killed and wounded, and a number 
of prisoners. General Fender's account of this affair is as 
follows : " After the heat of the action on the right, the 
"enemy advanced a brigade up Deep Bun, throwing one 
" regiment somewhat in advance, which so sheltered itself 
"behind the trees, as to get near enough to take an officer 
" and fifteen men of the Sixteenth North Carolina prisoners, 
" who were protecting the left flank of their regiment. This 
"left the regiment to be raked by a fire down the railroad 
" track. The Colonel (McElroy) drew his regiment back to 
" the ditch and held his ground until General Law sent for- 
"ward two regiments to its assistance. These three then 
"charged the enemy, driving them from the railroad cut 
"and across the fields to within a short distance of their 
"batteries." Nothing like the operation described in this 
last sentence took place ; a and the statement is in effect con- 

1 Colonel Hyde being considerably prostrated at the time, by physical 
disability, as he claimed. 

4 " Howe's division on the left of Smith's corps, being more advanced 
than the others, fronted the Heights of Bernard's Cabin, and the adjoin- 
ing woods, which were occupied by Hood's right and the left of A. P. Hill. 
About three o'clock, (of the 13th) Law's brigade attacked the left of Howe 
along the railroad, and was speedily repulsed with loss." Comte de Paris. 


tradicted by General Law, who does not claim that his regi- 
ments did more at that time than to check the fire from their 
left, and says he then withdrew them. The Fourth regiment 
tinder Lieut. Colonel Foster 1 was actively engaged on the 
skirmish line on Saturday. It was on the extreme left of the 
division skirmish line, and when Gibbon's division advanced 
to the railroad, in support of Meade's assault, the Fourth was 
advanced sufficiently to maintain a connection with Gibbon's 
line, on its left. The regiment distinguished itself by its 
steadiness and efficiency, and lost more men killed than any 
regiment of the brigade, suffering especially from canister. 

The Fifth, Colonel Grant, was on the skirmish line on 
Saturday, on the right of the Fourth, and was again engaged 
on the skirmish line on Sunday, during which day most of 
the casualties in the regiment occurred. While looking after 
the skirmishers, Colonel Grant received a painful blow on the 
leg from a spent ball. The regiment, as usual, behaved well. 

The night of the 13th of December, 1862, has been 
called " probably the most painful ever experienced by the 
Army of the Potomac during its whole existence." 2 But the 
Vermonters, though they knew that the fighting had been 
heavy, realized little of the frightful carnage that had taken 
place in other corps. They brought in their wounded and 
sent them across the river, and buried their dead ; and only 
learned on the day following that 12,000 men had been sacri- 
ficed in this fruitless battle. The casualties of the brigade 
were 148 in number, divided as follows : 

Killed. Wounded. Died of wounds. 

Second Vermont Regiment, 5 59 

Third " " 28 1 

Fourth " " 12 45 2 

Fifth, " 1 12 

Sixth, " " 11 

Twenty-sixth New Jersey, 02 

Total, 21 127 3 

1 Colonel Stoughton being absent, at Washington. 2 Comte de Paris. 


This was a slight loss as compared with that of some of 
Hancock's brigades which were pushed against Marye's 
Heights and lost over half their number. Yet the battle was 
no boy's play for the Vermont troops, who had to stand 
under frequent artillery fire, when not busy on the skirmish 
line, by day, and could sleep only by snatches on their arms 
by night, for sixty hours ; and they were not sorry, on Mon- 
day morning, to be relieved by General Newton's division, 
and to be marched back near the river out of fire. General 
Howe's report makes more prominent mention of the Ver- 
mont troops than of any others on his skirmish line, and 
when he says that his line was "gallantly maintained at all 
points," and that his infantry lines stood ''unmoved for 
three days and nights under the direct and enfilading fire of 
the enemy's batteries, and at all times exhibited a discipline 
and soldiership worthy of veterans of the first class," the 
Vermonters are entitled to their share of the praise. They 
in fact established in this battle the reputation, which they 
never lost, of especial efficiency and steadiness as skirmishers. 

Burnside, rendered desperate by his defeat, proposed to 
renew the battle on Sunday, and to head his old corps, the 
Ninth, in person, in another mad attempt to storm the 
heights; but he was dissuaded by his corps commanders. 
Lee, on his part, did not venture to take the offensive, and 
on Monday night, in a storm of wind and rain, the Army 
of the Potomac marched back across the bridges, and re- 
turned to its camps. 

The Sixth corps went into camp near White Oak Church 
a little white-washed meeting-house standing in a clump 
of oaks about four miles from the Kappahannock and the 
same distance from Belle Plain, on Potomac Creek, now the 
base of supply. Here were three extensive landings, one for 
the receipt of commissary stores, another for the shipping 
and discharging of troops, ordnance and quartermaster's 
stores, and another for forage, at which a million pounds of 


hay and grain were handled daily. This immense supply 
station was under the capable charge of Captain and A. Q. M. 
Perley P. Pitkin, of Vermont, the former quartermaster of 
the Second Vermont. 

A month of uniform and quiet life followed the First 
Fredericksburg. The troops built shanties and made them- 
selves comfortable in camp. The weather was generally 
mild and much of it pleasant ; and the health of the older 
soldiers was pretty good, though there was a good deal of 
sickness among the recruits. The morning report of the first 
of January, 1863, showed an aggregate of 3,933 men in the 
five Vermont regiments, with 2,760 present for duty. 

The days passed in the usual routine of picket and 
guard duty, battalion and skirmish drills, and inspections, 
with one or two brigade drills and reviews, till on the 19th of 
January, marching orders were once more received, and in 
the forenoon of the 20th, the brigade started, with the Sixth 
corps, with three days rations, over frozen ground and good 
roads, for some unknown destination. Three or four miles 
from camp the columns were halted and an order from 
General Burnside was read, announcing that the army was 
again to meet the enemy, and calling for the best efforts of 
officers and men. Burnside's present plan was to cross the 
Eappahannock at Banks's Ford, about six miles above Fred- 
ericksburg, turn the left of Lee's position, and fight a decisive 
battle on Salem Heights. This purpose was defeated by the 
elements. The corps marched that day about 12 miles. 
That night a terrific rain storm set in. The bottom dropped 
out of the roads; and the march of the army next day 
became an exhausting flounder in the mud. Another day 
of rain followed; the army made no progress; and mired 
ammunition wagons, stalled artillery, pontoon trains, supply 
wagons and ambulances, all at a standstill and in almost 
inextricable confusion, filled the roads. Sixteen horses tug- 
ged in vain on a single field piece. The men were set to 


corduroying roads. To the Vermont brigade, which was well 
to the front of the column, and had camped about a mile 
from Banks's Ford, was given the task of helping the ex- 
hausted horses and mules pull through the pontoon train and 
artillery. The men had a hard day's work. It took a hundred 
men on the drag ropes to furnish the motive power for a 
single pontoon, in mud through which it was not easy for an 
unburdened man to make his way. General Burnside was 
active in encouraging the men. 1 But it soon became plain 
to him and to all, that the movement, concealment of which 
from the enemy was essential to its success, was a failure. 
The rations were exhausted ; the order to return was given 
that night, and the next morning the troops floundered back 
to their camps, weary, footsore, and scarcely recognizable 
among themselves from the coating of Virginia mud which 
covered them. So ended the famous " Mud March," which 
was the closing movement of General Burnside's short career 
as army commander. 

General Burnside had learned from President Lincoln, 
after the failure of the attempt against Fredericksburg, that a 
number of his corps and division generals considered him 
incompetent to command and had no faith that any enter- 
prise under him could succeed. He had hoped to remove 
this want of confidence by a successful movement. The 
effort had failed through the interference of the elements. 
The condition of mind in which it left Burnside can be 
inferred from his action. He made out an order dismissing 
from the service Generals Hooker, Brooks, Newton and 
Cochrane and sending away from the army of the Potomac 

1 "As he [Burnside] rode through our division in the afternoon, with 
only two staff officers, himself and horse covered with mud, his hat rim 
turned down to shed the rain, his face careworn with this sudden disar- 
rangement of his plans, we could but think that the soldier on foot, 
oppressed with the weight of kuapsack> haversack and gun, bore an easy 
load compared with that of the commander of the army." Surgeon 
Ste vens. 



Generals Franklin, Smith, Sturgis and Ferrero; took it to 
Washington, and demanded either its approval by the Presi- 
dent, or the acceptance of his own resignation. Mr. Lincoln 
thought it better that the army be deprived of an unsuccess- 
ful though honest and patriotic chief, than of most of its 
corps and division generals. So General Burnside's resigna- 
tion was accepted, and General Joseph Hooker, instead of 
being dismissed the service, was made commander of the 
army in his stead. 



General Hooker takes command Reorganization of the army Sedgwick 
succeeds Smith as commander of the Sixth corps The new brigade 
commander, Colonel Grant The Chancellorsville campaign The 
Sixth corps crosses the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg Marye's 
Heights Brilliant part of the Vermont brigade Salem Heights and 
Bank's Ford Details of the fighting of the Vermont regiments The 
brigade covers the recrossing of the Sixth corps Losses of the Vermont 
troops Return to White Oak Church. 

General Hooker's first work, as commander of the army, 
was reorganization. The grand divisions, which had proved 
unwieldly and useless, were abolished. The corps organiza- 
tions remained ; but new corps commanders were assigned to 
all of them except the First and Second, which retained 
their old commanders, Reynolds and Couch. The Ninth 
corps was detached from the army and sent to North Carolina, 
and General William F. Smith was assigned to its command. 
Division commanders, selected for their fighting qualities, 
were advanced to the commands of the other corps. The 
Eleventh and Twelfth corps, which had been detached under 
Burnside, were brought back to the Army of the Potomac. 
As thus reorganized the army consisted of the First corps, 
Eeynolds ; Second, Couch ; Third, Sickles ; Fifth, Meade ; 
Sixth, Sedgwick ; Eleventh, Howard ; and Twelfth, Slocum. 
General Howe remained in the command of the Second 
division, Sixth corps, of which the Yermont brigade was a 

This period was one of rapid improvement in the tone 
and condition of the army. The depression which followed 


the useless slaughter of Fredericksburg, soon passed away. 
General Hooker almost stopped desertions, which had become 
fearfully numerous, improved the efficiency of the staff and 
administrative service, consolidated and reorganized the 
cavalry arm, which now began to show its value ; adopted 
the system of corps badges ; brought up the medical, quarter- 
master and commissary departments to a wonderful pitch of 
efficiency, and adopted an improved ambulance system, 
which has been a model for the armies of other nations. 1 In 
these and other ways he showed the army that it had at its 
head a man of more than common energy and administrative 
abilities. His courage and fighting qualities had been de- 
monstrated at Williamsburg, Glendale, Malvern Hill, the 
Second Bull Bun, and Antietam. The defects in his character 
and insufficiency for chief command were unknown. His 
appearance and bearing were prepossessing ; and as he rode 
along the lines on his splendid white horse, about the hand- 
somest as he was the most conspicuous soldier in the army, 
every man in the ranks felt sure that the army now had a 
commander who would lead it to victory. 

The Sixth corps was sorry to lose General Smith ; but it 
soon learned to consider itself fortunate in his successor. 
Bred to arms, John Sedgwick had served with distinction in 
the Mexican war, had been placed in responsible commands 
by McClellan, had won for his division the reputation of 
being the best division in Sumner's corps, and had especially 
distinguished himself by his sturdy fight against heavy odds 
at Antietam. Bluff, reticent, utterly without ostentation, the 
officers and men under him came to realize that his blue 
blouse and coarse army pantaloons covered a true man and a 
brave soldier who knew his business and cared to know no 
more ; who meant to do his duty and expected those under 
him to do theirs. Under him the Sixth corps won its rank 

1 Originated by Dr. Letterman, medical director of the Army of the 


as the best corps in the army a title so often given to it by 
others, that it is not surprising that its members came to 
accept it as a true one. 

General Howe, as has been said, was an excellent division 
commander, and was growing in the respect and confidence 
of his command. 

A good many changes of command had been taking 
place in the Yermont brigade. Within the six weeks between 
December 18th, 1862, and February 9th, 1863, the remaining 
three of the original colonels of the brigade, Whiting, Hyde 
and Lord, together with Lieut. Colonel Joyce, command- 
ing the Second regiment, had resigned and retired to private 
life ; and before the resumption of active operations in the 
spring, Colonel Tut tie of the Sixth resigned. The removals 
of subordinate officers by death, disease and discharge 
had been so numerous that at the end of the first fifteen 
months of the existence of the brigade, on the 1st of 
March, 1863, there had been an entire change of the field 
and staff of every regiment, while of the fifty original cap- 
tains in the line, but six remained. 1 On the retirement 
of Colonel Whiting, which took place February 9th, 1863, 
Colonel Lewis A. Grant of the Fifth, as the ranking colonel, 
succeeded to the co mmand of the brigade. 

Colonel Grant had as yet his mark to make as a brigade 
commander. Entering the service with no military train- 
ing or experience, he had by diligent study thoroughly 
mastered the Regulations, and gave a degree of attention to 
details which some thought excessive, though by others it 
was considered worthy of praise. He had shown courage, 
energy and industry in the command of the Fifth regiment. 
With his accession to the command of the brigade regular 
and reasonably full reports of engagements and movements 
began to be made ; and he took hold of the duties of his new 

1 Captains Pratt, Platt, Addison Brown, and Laird of the Fourth Ver- 
mont; Captain Jenne of the Fifth, and Captain Hutchinson of the Sixth. 

Engraved for Termo; 


position in a way that gave promise which his career ful- 
filled that the brigade would have in him, if not a highly 
popular commander, a vigilant, trusty and capable one, in 
camp and on the battlefield. 

The commanders of the regiments were, of the Second, 
Colonel James H. Walbridge; Third, Colonel Thomas O. 
Seaver ; Fourth, Colonel Charles B. Stoughton ; Fifth, Lieut. 
CoJonel John It. Lewis; Sixth, Colonel Elisha L. Barney. 
All of these had risen, by successive promotions, from the 
line. Each had shown bravery and capacity in subordinate 
commands, and each had the respect and confidence of the 
officers and men under him. 

The later months of the winter of 1862-3 were passed 
by the brigade in the camp near White Oak Church. There 
was abundance of cold weather with occasional snow storms 
up to the end of March and even into April, and at times 
considerable sickness prevailed, as shown by the long lists of 
Vermont soldiers in the regimental and Philadelphia hos- 
pitals. But the health of the brigade improved steadily 
through the winter months, and was rarely better than it was 
when the spring campaign of 1863 began. 

One of the chief events of the winter was a notable 
snow-ball battle. The Third and Fourth Yermont regiments 
were challenged by the Twenty-sixth New Jersey, which 
numbered as many men as both the others, to meet them on 
the mimic battlefield. Snow-balling was a favorite amuse- 
ment with the Jerseymen, and they had become especially 
proficient in it; but their challenge was accepted by the 
Vermont boys, and the contest took place on the 25th of 
February. An immense multitude of spectators gathered to 
witness it from the camps around. The opposing lines were 
marshalled by their line and field officers, the latter mounted. 
Skirmishers were thrown out, followed by attacks and counter 
attacks in line. The game ended in the capture by the Ver- 
mont boys of the colonel, adjutant and quartermaster of 



the New Jersey regiment, all finely mounted, and the utter 
rout of the Jersey men. It was a piece of boy's play ; but it 
made about as much stir, at the time, as a serious battle. 

The five Yermont regiments, on the 15th of April, 1863, 
aggregated 3,343 officers and men, with 2,796 present for 
duty. The Army of the Potomac, on the same date, num- 
bered 113,000 infantry and artillery and 12,000 cavalry; and 
perhaps General Hooker was not far out of the way when he 
called it "the finest army on the planet." General Lee's 
army was less numerous. The rolls of the army of Northern 
Virginia on the 30th of March, 1863, showed an aggregate of 
60,298 men. It is to be noted, however, in regard to all 
statements of numbers on the Southern side, that it is known 
that in special emergencies occurring on Southern soil, in 
addition to the numbers officially reported by the Confederate 
commanders, considerable numbers of irregular troops and 
volunteers for temporary service took part, which do not 
appear on the army rolls. There is little doubt, also, that 
the statements of losses on the Confederate side, in battles 
fought on Southern soil, were often under the truth, even 
in cases where there was any intention to state it, owing to 
the facts that losses among such temporary volunteers were 
not reported, and that many wounded Confederates wan- 
dered off and sought shelter and perhaps died in the houses 
of friendly inhabitants of the country around the battlefields, 
and were never reported in any lists of casualties. Intelli- 
gent residents in Virginia since the war, state their belief 
that in many cases a considerable percentage should be added 
to the official statements of Confederate numbers and losses, 
on these accounts. 

On the 3d of April the brigade was reviewed with the 
Sixth corps by General Hooker, and on the 8th, President 
Lincoln, accompanied by General Hooker and a great caval- 
cade of generals and staff officers, reviewed the Third, Fifth 
and Sixth corps. The other three corps were reviewed the 


next day. The paymasters paid off the regiments about this 
time. The weather became warm and the roads more pass- 
able ; and orders to send all extra clothing and camp equipage 
to Alexandria, in the first week in April, indicated that the 
spring campaign was at hand. Yet the men were busy in 
grading their camps and shading the company streets with 
evergreens as if for a long stay, when, on the 14th of April, the 
orders came to make ready to move. These orders had some 
new features ; officers were allowed one valise apiece and 
shelter tents, to be carried on pack mules, instead of un- 
limited baggage and A tents carried in wagons ; and the men 
were to carry eight day's rations three in their haversacks, 
and five in their knapsacks leaving little room for anything 
else. Something more than a holiday excursion was evidently 
on foot, and the prospect of active operations was welcomed 
by most of the army. A long storm delayed the proposed 
movement for two weeks. 

The Chancellorsville campaign began in earnest on the 
27th of April. Hooker's plan was to move against Lee's left 
with four corps, 1 by a wide detour, crossing the Rappahan- 
nock at Kelley's Fords, twenty-seven miles above Fredericks- 
burg, and passing around Lee's flank to Chancellorsville, in 
the edge of the Wilderness, twelve miles west of Fredericks- 
burg ; while Sedgwick with two corps, 2 was to force a crossing 
at Fredericksburg, and make a demonstration against the 
Confederate position along the Heights. 

The crossing and march of the main column were effected 
with surprising celerity ; and on the night of Thursday, April 
30th, Hooker's headquarters were at Chancellorsville a 
single brick house at a cross-roads and he had taken 50,000 
men with him to the rear of the very centre of Lee's fortified 

1 These in the course of the movement and battle were followed by two 
more corps. 

* Reduced afterwards to one. 


line. Meantime pontoon bridges had been thrown across the 
river below Fredericksburg, at the point where Franklin 
crossed in December, and a mile below. The First and Sixth 
corps had marched to the river ; and a division of each corps 
Brooks's of the Sixth and Wadsworth's of the First crossed 
to guard the bridge heads. The other divisions of both corps 
remained on the northern bank, where they lay on Friday 
while Hooker was pushing reconnoitring columns out towards 
Fredericksburg. On Saturday, Hooker having by this time 
discovered that Lee had no intention of retreating, the First 
corps was withdrawn and moved to Chancellorsville, leaving 
Sedgwick with only his own corps to operate against the 
enemy's right. Between six and seven o'clock that evening. 
Stonewall Jackson, making a circuit to the west, struck and 
stampeded the Eleventh . corps, on the extreme right of 
Hooker's line, and an hour later fell mortally wounded in the 
dusk of the evening, with three bullet holes through him. 1 
That evening Howe's division of the Sixth corps crossed to 
the south bank. On Sunday morning Sedgwick stormed 
Marye's Heights, in which brilliant achievement the Vermont 
brigade won immortal fame ; and in the afternoon marched 
out to Salem Heights, back of Fredericksburg, to menace 
General Lee's rear. Lee, in the meantime, had been forcing 
the fighting at Chancellorsville, and had taken the cross-roads,, 
pushing Hooker's lines back to the north. Hooker had been 
stunned by the concussion of a cannon ball, which struck a 
pillar of the Chancellorsville house against which he was 
leaning, and the Union army was for a time without a head, 
In general, affairs were in such a condition that Lee could 
afford to, and did, detach a strong force from his front to 
meet Sedgwick Sunday afternoon. Sedgwick carried the crest 
at Salem Church but could not hold it ; and the next day, Lee 

1 It will never be known whether he was wounded by his own men or 
by the Union troops. He was between the lines, and both were firing. 
The Union fire killed one of the men who bore him away. 


having further strengthened the force opposed to him, he was 
forced back, though resisting obstinately, to the river, at 
Banks's Ford, four miles above Fredericksburg. But he gave 
his assailants a bloody recoil at the close of the day, and 
that night the Sixth corps re-crossed the Eappahannock 
The next night, Hooker, who had been doing no fighting 
since Sunday noon, though he had with him more men who 
had not drawn a trigger than there were in Lee's entire army, 
and though he ought to have been glad to be attacked in 
the impregnable position he had taken, also re-crossed the 
river, leaving his 12,000 killed and wounded, 14 guns and 
nearly 20,000 small arms to the enemy. 

It is not necessary to the purpose of this history to 
describe the portion of this famous double battle that was 
conducted under Hooker's immediate command, or near 
his headquarters. The mysterious strategy therein displayed 
has raised the questions, why a soldier of Hooker's energy 
waited for two days to be attacked on the tangled and un- 
favorable ground of Chancellorsville, thus losing all he had 
gained by the celerity of his movement across the Eappahan- 
nock ; why he did not occupy, as he could easily have done 
the favorable ground commanding Banks's Ford, thus bringing 
his wings twelve miles nearer to each other, and almost unit- 
ing them ; why he permitted half of his force in the field at 
Chancellorsville to be worsted on Sunday, while the other 
half stood by unemployed ; why he allowed Sedgwick to be 
outnumbered and enveloped without the slightest diversion 
in his favor or attempt to reinforce him ; why, when physical 
incapacity was added to mental, he did not relinquish the 
command to some one else. These are questions which have 
perplexed far abler military critics than the writer of this 
history, and he is glad not to be called on to explain or discuss 
them. His task is the simpler one of telling what was done 
by and happened to the Sixth corps, with especial reference 
to the part taken by the Yermont troops. To go back a 


little, the Sixth corps left its camp near White Oak Church 
in the afternoon of the 28th, and bivouacked that night, with- 
out fires, about a mile back from the river, the regiments of 
the Yermont brigade being crowded together in the woods, 
on ground so low and wet that the soldier thought himself 
lucky who could lie on a brush-heap instead of in a puddle. 
In the early morning a force crossed the river in boats 
and captured the enemy's picket line on the south bank ; and 
pontoon bridges were laid at Franklin's crossing. Brooks's 
division then crossed the river, and Howe's division moved 
down near the bridges. These divisions remained thus 
during Thursday and Friday. A good deal of rain fell, and 
the mud was deep ; but the spirits of the troops and their 
faith in General Hooker were high. Brooks's skirmishers 
on Thursday unmasked to some extent the enemy's force, 
which, under General Early, occupied the heights, with a 
line along the railroad on the plain in front. Early made 
a formidable show of strength, and at times moved troops 
to and fro in masses large enough to give the impression 
that he was holding the position with a very strong force. 
There were some artillery duels to the left; but no other 
fighting. Friday morning, General Hooker's order, announc- 
ing that he had gained the enemy's rear and that Lee must fly 
or come out and give battle where certain destruction awaited 
him, was published to the troops. The day passed quietly 
in front of Fredericksburg ; but the sound of artillery came 
in the afternoon from the west, where the columns which 
Hooker had pushed out, only to withdraw them, were meet- 
ing some resistance. Friday night was quiet and even de- 
lightful along the Eappahannock. The moon was nearly 
full and its light glistened broad and bright on the river, 
the intervale between the river and the hills was spangled 
with the lights of the Union army, while the Confederate 
camp fires gleamed and their signal lights flashed along the 
semicircle of the heights. 


Saturday morning, the First corps was withdrawn from 
its position on the left of the Sixth and sent around to 
strengthen Hooker at Chancellorsville, though it was not 
used after it got there. There were some exchanges of com- 
pliments between Sedgwick's batteries and skirmishers and 
the enemy's this day; but neither side took the offensive in 
earnest. The heavy firing and clouds of rising smoke beyond 
Fredericksburg to the west, however, told of serious work in 
progress there, and the occasional visible hurrying of troops 
in that direction from the enemy's lines in front indicated 
that his left was being reinforced from his right. Brooks ad- 
vanced to the stage road, Saturday, pushing the enemy back 
to the woods; in the evening Howe's division crossed the 
river, and the Sixth corps was concentrated on the right 
bank. The men lay on their arms that night. At eleven 
o'clock that evening, General Sedgwick received from Hooker 
orders, sent after the disaster to his right wing had occurred, 
to put the Sixth corps in motion, seize Eredericksburg and 
the heights, move out toward Chancellorsville, destroying 
any force that blocked the way, and to get into the vicinity 
of the main army by daylight. 

General Sedgwick was severely blamed by various gen- 
erals, from General Hooker down to one of his own division 
commanders, 1 for not obeying this order with more prompt- 
ness and energy. Sedgwick's reply to the charge of inaction 
was that he did all that was practicable ; that the order was 
given upon the assumption that there was a very small rebel 
force to oppose him, whereas he knew that the heights were 
defended by a large force; and that the distance between 
him and Chancellorsville was so great, being fourteen miles, 
that he could not have reached Hooker by daybreak even if 
there had not been an armed rebel in the way. It is to be 
said on Sedgwick's side of the case, that there is no doubt 

1 General Howe. 


that Hooker supposed that Sedgwick had less ground to 
cover, in order to join him, than was the case. He did not 
seem to realize that Sedgwick was not at or opposite Fred- 
ericksburg, but three miles below. Furthermore, General 
Hooker and those about his headquarters believed that Lee 
had withdrawn troops from his right till not over a brigade 
was left to make a show of opposition to Sedgwick ; whereas 
in fact Lee had left an entire division, Early's, 1 and two 
brigades Barksdale's, of McLaws's division, and Wilcox's, 
of Anderson's division to guard his lines about Fredericks- 
burg. Early had at his disposal a force of 10,000 men not 
much short of the number that had beaten back Burnside's 
army from those heights and 50 guns, all so strongly posted 
that one defender was worth two or three assailants. 

Of course General Sedgwick could not forget that the 
task assigned to him was to carry with his single corps a 
position from which four months before full half of the army 
of the Potomac had been beaten back with terrible loss. He 
cannot be blamed for acting with considerable caution under 
all the circumstances. And yet, with all allowances, it must 
be admitted that it was a great pity that he should not have 
pushed his columns along somewhat more vigorously that 
night, carried the heights at an earlier hour next morning, 
and hurried out toward Chancellorsville in the forenoon. 
The two or three hours thus gained, might, and probably 
would, have made all the difference in the result of the battle 
of Chancellorsville. But even this mild suggestion seems 
hardly generous in view of what was actually accomplished 
by Sedgwick. For it has been truly said that his "brilliant 
exploit in carrying the Fredericksburg Heights, and his sub- 
sequent fortitude in a trying situation, shine out as the one 
relieving brightness amid the gloom of that hapless battle." a 

1 The Confederate divisions comprised from four to six brigades, and 
contained nearly double the numbers of the Union divisions. 

8 William Swinton. 



On receiving the order above mentioned, an hour before 
midnight, Sedgwick put his corps in motion for Fredericks- 
burg. The head of Newton's division, which was 
May 3, 1863. . ' 

in advance, was harassed and delayed by the 

enemy's skirmishers, all the way, and it was daylight before 
Howe's division, which came next, filed into the Bowling 
Green road. Howe advanced to Hazel Run, on the south 
of Fredericksburg and took position facing Marye's Hill. 
Here he lay for four or five hours, while other troops were 
getting into position, and while the enemy's lines were felt 
by Gibbon, whose division occupied the town, and by Brooks, 
whose division was on the left, along Deep Run. Sedg- 
wick decided on a general assault on the works square in 
his front, to be made by Newton's and Howe's divisions. 
Howe got his order at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and at 
once formed three storming columns, two of which, it will 
be noticed, were commanded by Vermonters, and were com- 
posed in part of Vermont regiments. 

Before describing their brillant and successful assault, 
some additional description of the ground may be of service. 
The plain of Fredericksburg, as the reader already knows, is 
encircled by a rim of highlands, rising in terraces to an 
elevated plain back of the city. On the edge of this table 
ground, where it is nearest to the city, is the famous Marye 
house and hill. Below this was a stone wall, built to face and 
support a terrace, and forming a parapet along its front. An 
extension of Marye's Hill to the south is known as " Cemetery 
Hill." South of this and about half a mile from Marye's, a 
higher eminence, called " Lee's Hill " after General Lee oc- 
cupied it as his headquarters at the First Fredericksburg, 
pushes out its bluffs to the plain ; and between these run 
the valley and stream of Hazel Run, breaking from the plain 
above and running easterly to the river. The heights of Lee's 
Hill stretch southward a mile and a half, to the valley of 


Beep Run. In front of these the track of the Eichmond, 
Fredericksburg and Potomac railroad, and the highway 
(variously called the Old Kichmond Stage road, the Bowling 
Green road and the Port Royal road,) divide the plain by 
nearly parallel lines. The heights were crowned at every 
commanding point with earthworks and batteries. Con- 
federate infantry lined the stone wall, and other lines of 
infantry lay in rifle pits at the foot of the heights. The 
enemy's skirmishers occupied the railroad track. 

Howe formed his troops along the Stage road for the 
assault, the storming columns being composed as follows: 
first column, General T. H. Neill commanding, Seventh 
Maine, Seventy-seventh New York, Thirty-third New York, 
and half of the Twenty-first New Jersey ; second column, 
Colonel L. A. Grant commanding, Second Vermont, Sixth 
Vermont, and Twenty-sixth New Jersey ; third column, 
Colonel T. O. Seaver commanding, Third Vermont, Fourth 
Vermont, and the other half of the Twenty-first New Jersey. 
Two columns of attack were formed at the same time from 
Newton's division, in the streets of Fredericksburg. These 
were to assault the works on the right of Hazel Run, while 
Howe's columns were to attack on the left of the run. 

A more or less continuous artillery fire had been kept up 
on the enemy's position during the forenoon, by batteries of 
rifled guns on the north bank, and by some of Sedgwick's 
light batteries along his line. This lulled for a time, but 
opened again about noon, with redoubled energy, in prepara- 
tion for the assault. At this signal the storming columns 
started together. The order was to move at double quick 
across the plain, push straight up the heights, and carry the 
works at the point of the bayonet. This involved an advance 
over three quarters of a mile of perfectly open ground, com- 
manded at every point by the enemy's batteries ; the driving 
of the enemy's infantry from their breastworks at the base of 
the hills ; the ascent of heights too steep for a horse to 


climb ; J and the storming of a double line of redoubts and 
breastworks at the top ; nor would the work be ended when 
these were carried, for the batteries on Lee's Hill commanded 
the position of Marye's Hill. The time for preparation was 
short ; knapsacks were quickly unslung and piled by the road, 
and in five minutes the lines were in order for the advance. In 
five minutes more they swept out across the plain in splendid 
style, forming a spectacle which none who witnessed it on 
either side ever forgot. Each pushed rapidly forward, with- 
out firing a shot. Early's batteries opened on them fiercely, 
and with some effect ; but they moved too quickly to be kept 
in range and suffered less than might have been expected. 
The two storming parties of Newton's division, having less 
distance to go, first reached the opposing works, drove two 
regiments of Barksdale's brigade 2 from their lower line, 
pressed on to the crest, and carried the works to the right of 
Marye's. They lost both their commanders 3 and a good 
many men ; but took all the guns in the works in their front, 
and many prisoners. 

Neill's and Grant's columns moved on the left of Hazel 
Eun, driving the enemy from the railroad cut and rifle pits 
beyond ; then bearing to the right crossed the ravine of Hazel 
Eun, waded the stream, there two or three feet deep, and 
moved up the southern slope of Cemetery Hill, to the left 
of the stone wail. In the latter part of the charge, the 
front lines became somewhat divided and mixed, owing to 
the circumstance that the New Jersey regiments in each 
line held back, while the two Vermont regiments, the Second 

1 The commanders of the columns of Howe's division and the regimental 
field officers of the Vermont regiments all left their horses, and went for- 
ward on foot, in the belief that horses could not climb where they were 

2 The Eighteenth and Twenty-first Mississippi. 

3 Colonel Spear of the Sixty-first Pennsylvania, killed, and Colonel 
Johns of the Seventh Massachusetts, severely wounded. 


and Sixth, pushed on. The skirmishers (of the Seventy- 
seventh New York) the Thirty-third New York, and the Sixth 
Vermont, which passed two regiments whose place was in 
front of it, entered the first line of works on the Heights 
about together, the enemy falling back before them to their 
second line. 

Marye's Hill, in front of which a few months before 
Hancock, French and Howard lost 4,000 men without fairly 
reaching the stone wall, was thus carried; but the assail- 
ants did not rest there, for the Confederate guns on Lee's 
Hill to the left, and on the second crest in front which 
Wilcox had just occupied with his brigade and Lewis's bat- 
tery, were throwing shell and grape ; and there was plainly 
work still to be done. The Sixth Yermont was accordingly 
deployed as skirmishers, by order of General Newton, and 
sent forward for the guns in front, which were about 600 
yards away. In this the Sixth was efficiently aided by 
Martin's battery. 1 Martin had closely followed the infantry 
lines, and ascending by the road to the crest, went at once 
into battery near Marye's house, and began to make it warm 
for Wilcox, at the same time that his right was attacked by 
the Second Yermont. This had started across the plain below 
with the Twenty-sixth New Jersey on its left. Coming under 
an enfilading fire from the batteries on Lee's Hill, as well as 
from the front, the New Jersey regiment first crowded to 
the right, its line lapping that of the Second, and then 
halted near the foot of the slope and opened a scattering and 
harmless fire upon the works and batteries above. March- 
ing the Second Yermont to the right a short distance by the 
flank, to disentangle its line, Colonel Grant faced it to the 
front and led it forward alone. The regiment was halted for 
five minutes, to take breath, under the cover of the bank, 
which was steep enough to afford protection from the showers 

1 Battery F., Fifth U. S. Artillery. 


of grape and canister, and then pushed forward up the hill, 
till it gained a line of rifle pits on the first crest, which, with 
a brass field piece, had just been abandoned by the enemy. 1 
The regiment here halted and dressed its lines for the charge 
on the second crest. Colonel Grant had meantime dis- 
covered the Thirty-third New York back near the Eun, and 
having ordered it up within supporting distance, the Second 
again started forward, with two companies in front as skirm- 
ishers. The enemy at this time showed no intention of leav- 
ing the second crest ; but on the contrary opened a hot fire, 
from which the Second suffered severely. Finding that his 
men were dropping rapidly, and perceiving that the works 
in front were strongly manned, Colonel Walbridge halted his 
regiment, which vigorously returned the enemy's fire, till the 
Thirty-third New York and Seventh Maine came up on its 
right and left, when the line again advanced. Under the 
combined assault, Wilcox, who had his entire brigade there, 
with such of Barksdale's troops as had escaped from Marye's 
Hill, gave way. The Union standards were planted in the 
Confederate works, and Early's position on the right of Hazel 
Eun was fully carried. 

While these events were in progress, Seaver's column 
had made an equally gallant advance across the plain, and 
bearing to the left assaulted the works on Lee's Hill, which 
were held by three Mississippi regiments of Barksdale's 
brigade, 2 and a regiment of Hays's brigade, with Frazer's and 

1 An officer of the Twenty-sixth New Jersey thus describes this move- 
ment : "As we approached the foot of the hills, we could see the rebel 
gunners limbering up their pieces. The Second Vermont, which had got 
a little ahead of us, were now moving up the steep slope on our right, in 
beautiful line; and presently we also commenced the ascent. A terrible 
volley thinned the ranks of the Vermonters; but they pressed on, and the 
enemy began to give away. As we reached the top of the hill we could see 
the flying foe, crossing through a gully and ascending the rise of ground 
opposite. The terrible Fredericksburg Heights had been captured." 

2 Barksdale had divided his brigade, stationing two regiments on 
Marye's Hill and sending three to Lee's Hill. 


Carlton's batteries. The Third Vermont was the first to gain 
the crest, and at once engaged the enemy. The Fourth and 
Fifth came up immediately. The enemy withdrew after a 
short resistance and the position was carried. All this was 
accomplished so speedily that Early, who had the bigger 
part of his division within supporting distance, could not 
reinforce his lines on the heights in time to save them. He 
lost eight guns, three on Marye's Hill and the second crest, 
and five on Lee's Hill. His loss of men was serious, Barks- 
dale alone losing 606 men from his brigade, of whom 327 
were reported missing, most of them having been captured on 
Marye's Hill. Moreover Early was fairly cut off from the 
rest of Lee's army ; and he would have been in serious trouble 
if Sedgwick's orders had not been peremptory to march 
toward Chancellorsville. 

The reader will understand that it is not claimed that 
the Sixth corps carried the heights of Fredericksburg in the 
face of as many men and guns as those which threw Burn- 
side back from their front. Early was not expecting Sedg- 
wick's attack, and was not fully prepared to meet it. But 
the heights were carried against heavy opposition. No 
similar assault on the Southern side during the war equalled 
this in brilliancy and success ; and in these respects it was 
surpassed, on the Northern side, if at all, only by Lookout 
Mountain and the final storming of Lee's lines at Petersburg. 
The loss of the Sixth corps, in this brilliant passage of 
arms, was little greater than that of the enemy though the 
latter fought with great advantages of position. The casu- 
alties in the Yermont regiments were 132, of which number 
105 were in the Second Vermont. Almost all of these 
occurred in its assault on the second crest. The whole 
affair did not occupy an hour. The brigade held the captured 
works, till relieved, an hour later, by Brooks's division. The 
Vermont regiments then returned to the plain to get their 
knapsacks and some coffee, but soon hurried back, marching 


through the outskirts of Fredericksburg, and went out over 
the plank road with the rest of Howe's division. 

The Sixth corps was now marching toward Chancel- 
lorsville; Brooks had the advance and in his front was 
Wilcox's Confederate brigade, which had fallen back from 
the heights as far as Salem Church, four miles from Fred- 
ericksburg. General Lee, having received the startling news 
of the loss of the heights of Fredericksburg, and having 
struck Hooker a stunning blow in the forenoon, at once de- 
tached McLaws's division and a brigade of Anderson's divi- 
sion to reinforce Wilcox and ward off the danger to his rear. 
McLaws joined Wilcox at Salem Church, and Brooks soon 
not only found his efforts to push forward resisted, but was 
himself forced back by the constantly increasing numbers in 
his front. He was having hot work, as Howe's division 
marched out over the plank road; and a sorry stream of 
wounded men was passing to the rear. 1 

The first hours of daylight next morning disclosed a 
serious condition of affairs. Early, having discovered that 
Sedgwick's movement had left the heights of Fredericksburg 
substantially undefended, at daylight re-occupied the line 
along the heights, from which he had been driven the day 
before. Sedgwick was thus cut off from Fredericksburg, and 
to the dangers on his front and left was added a new peril in 
his rear. General Lee had, in fact, decided to make an end 
of Sedgwick, before giving any more attention to Hooker. 
He went to superintend the affair in person, taking with him 
Anderson's division, and not doubting that with three divi- 
sions, outnumbering the Sixth corps by four or five thousand 
men, he could drive it into the river. Sedgwick, on his part, 
supposed that he was even more heavily outnumbered ; but 

'Among them, many Vermonters noticed, in an ambulance, Captain 
Theodore Read, of General Brooks's staff, formerly the assistant adjutant 
general of the Vermont brigade. 


he prepared to make the stoutest resistance possible. Howe's 
division was faced about to the rear, that is to the east, to 
receive Early. Brooks's division was placed at right angles 
with Howe, facing south, and confronting Anderson. Newton, 
facing west and with his right on the river at Banks's Ford 
was opposed to McLaws. In other words the lines of the 
Sixth corps formed three sides of a hollow square, enveloped 
by the enemy. 

Howe, with but two brigades, numbering all told less 
than 6,000 men, had a line of two miles long to hold, extend- 
ing from the turnpike or plank road, 1 on which they had 
marched out from Fredericksburg, nearly to the river. The 
Vermont brigade held the right of the line, its own right 
resting on the road and connecting at an angle with the left 
of Brooks's division. 

Lee spent most of the day in getting his troops into 
position, reconnoitring, and feeling of his enemy, in one of 
which operations Early felt a point on Howe's line, and lost 
200 men and a battle flag, of the Fifty-eighth Virginia. He 
finally decided to make his main attack on the right and 
centre of Howe's line, intending to break through, take Sedg- 
wick's lines in reverse on right and left, and cut off and 
capture as much of the Sixth corps as he did not destroy. 
His preparations were not completed till five o'clock in the 
afternoon. A few minutes after that hour the right and 
centre of Howe's line were attacked, " with a violence," says 
that general, "that I had never before encountered." Early 's 
assault was made by the brigades of Hays, Hoke and 
Gordon, moving en echelon. In preparation for it Howe had 
formed his division in a double line. The front line con- 
sisted of Neill's brigade and the Fifth Vermont, with a 
line of skirmishers in front, consisting in part of two com- 

1 This plank road became a common turnpike two or three miles out 
from the city. 




MAY 3 r - d & 4 1 -" 1863. 


panies of the Fifth under Major Dudley. The other regi- 
ments of the Yermont brigade and a battery formed the 
second line, arranged as follows from right to left : Third 
Yermont, Rigby's battery, Sixth Yermont, Second Yermont, 
Twenty-sixth New Jersey, and Fourth Yermont. The last 
named regiment was posted well to the front in the edge of a 
piece of pine woods, with a ravine and open field in front of 
it. The line of the other regiments extended along a slight 
swell of ground, the crest of which afforded partial protection 
to the guns, and to the infantry when lying down. In this 
order Early's assault was awaited. As it developed, battery 
after battery came into position on the crests in front of 
Howe, and the shells began to whiz and crack along his lines. 
Heavy masses of Confederate infantry next appeared, moving 
down the slopes in successive lines. Their onset grazed 
Brooks's skirmish line, and then fell heavily on Howe's right 
and centre. Dudley's skirmishers received the advance, fall- 
ing back inch by inch, and resisting the enemy's skirmishers 
till his front line of battle came up. As this crossed a swell 
in front of the Fifth Yermont, it bore to its own right to 
strike Neill's front. Seizing the opportunity thus offered, 
Lieut. Colonel Lewis at once swung forward the right of his 
regiment and poured into the gray ranks sweeping past his 
front a terrible enfilading fire, which, in the opinion of Colonel 
Grant, disabled a much greater number of the enemy than 
there were men in the regiment. The Fifth kept this up till 
the second Confederate line came up. As this extended be- 
yond his right, to prevent it from enfilading him and reaching 
his rear, Colonel Lewis now drew off his regiment by the flank, 
through a depression of the ground behind him, and passing 
in the rear of the Third, took position in the second line. 

Neill's line to the left had in the meantime been as- 
sailed with great fury, and began to give way after heavy 
loss. 1 The second line must now receive the stress of the 

1 Neill lost in all, that evening, About 1,000 men. 



assault, and on its steadiness depended the maintenance of 
Howe's position, and the life of the corps. Some fresh dis- 
positions were hastily made by Colonel Grant to meet the 
emergency. The Twenty-sixth New Jersey was moved to 
the right and a little forward, to present a front from that 
quarter, and to leave the veteran regiments of the brigade 
together where the brunt of the rebel assault was likely to 
fall. The Second Vermont was moved to the left into the 
place vacated by the New Jersey regiment, and the Third 
Vermont took the place of the Second, leaving the Sixth on 
the extreme right of the brigade line. Flushed with their 
success thus far and sweeping before them a portion of 
Neill's brigade like froth on the crest of the wave, with the 
"rebel yell" rising shrill above the din of the strife, the 
Confederate lines now came in on the charge. The New 
Jersey regiment received Hoke with a volley, which stag- 
gered but did not stop him, and as he pressed on the Jersey- 
men broke and fell back in extreme disorder. 1 The surge of 
attack now struck the Second Vermont with even added 
impetus; but it had met a different obstacle. The men of 
the Second, who had been kept down, rose, and opened a fire 
which from its rapidity and intensity seemed like a continu- 
ous volley, and the Confederate line quailed. As soon as the 
demoralized Jerseymen, passing through to the rear, had got 
away from its front, the Third Vermont took part in the 
music, and added a hot fire to that of the Second, under 
which Hoke's lines halted and broke. Hays's brigade on 
his right, however, still pressed on, obliquely, till it met the 
Fourth Vermont, whose position, as has been mentioned, was 
somewhat in front of the general line of the brigade. Colonel 

1 "We were not the only regiment that was broken on that fearful 
Monday night ; and when veterans were compelled to give way we might 
be pardoned for doing the same ; but many look back on that moment with 
regret. Reaching a brush fence the Twenty-sixth rallied." Notes of an 
officer of the Twenty-sixth New Jersey, quoted in New Jersey and the 


Stoughton threw back the right wing of his regiment so as 
to oppose a squarer front to the enemy, and received Hays 
with a fire which cleared the slope of the ravine in Stough- 
ton's front ; and the tide passed along it to his left. To pre- 
vent being flanked from that quarter, he again changed front, 
refusing his left, and held the masses in front of him in check, 
till the Fifth Vermont arrived from the right and took 
position on his left. The Fifth here commanded the ravine 
and the crest on the left of it, and made the left of the 
brigade line secure for the time. The assault now lulled 
for a few moments, only to rage with fresh fury. Hoke and 
Hays rallied their men and renewed the attack with great 
vigor. They met at every point a wall of fire, and could 
nowhere break through the line of the Vermont brigade. 
But on its right a gap in the lines had been opened by the 
gradual moving of the regiments to the left. Perceiving 
this, Early now tried to push into this opening and turn the 
right of the brigade. The Sixth Vermont here held a low 
crest, behind which they were lying down. Colonel Barney 
kept his men down, as several Confederate regiments ad- 
vanced, shouting and shaking their battle flags. They came 
on at double quick to within twenty feet of the line of the 
Sixth, when, at the word, the regiment rose, fired a volley 
full in their faces, then charged in turn and drove them at 
the point of the bayonet down the slope and to the crest 
beyond. The Sixth took in this counter charge, a colonel, 1 
a lieutenant colonel, a major and 17 other officers, and 237 
enlisted men. A portion of the Twenty-sixth New Jersey, 
who had been rallied by Colonel Martindale, advanced with 
the Sixth Vermont and took part in this splendid charge. 2 

1 Colonel Stafford of the Ninth Louisana. 

2 A member of the New Jersey regiment describes the transaction as 
follows : "The Sixth Vermont lay behind a little rise of ground, awaiting 
the onset of the rebel hosts. Although the enemy was at least three times 
their number, for there was a whole brigade of them, the gallant Vermonters 


The Confederate lines now fell back from the entire front 
of the Vermont brigade, leaving the ground strewn with their 
dead and wounded, while among the prisoners taken by the 
Vermonters were men of seven Confederate regiments the 
Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Louisiana, and the Sixth, Twenty- 
first, Twenty-fourth and Fifty-seventh North Carolina. Early 
was thus fairly repulsed on the right and centre of Howe's 
division. But the left of the division, consisting of a portion 
of Neill's brigade, after contesting its position against heavy 
odds, had been pushed back far enough to endanger the left 
of the Vermont brigade, and Colonel Grant had withdrawn 
the Fourth Vermont a short distance, when a battery and 
two regiments 1 sent over from Newton's division by General 
Sedgwick arrived, and extended Grant's line to the left. The 
battery rendered good service ; and Early's progress was soon 
checked. General Howe says of this portion of the action : 
"The enemy, apparently thinking our left was giving way,, 
"rallied and confidently advanced until they brought their 
"flank opposite the woods in which was placed those sterling 
"soldiers of the Vermont brigade. At the favorable moment 
"this brigade opened its fire on the flank of the enemy's 
" columns, and immediately the batteries in front opened a 
" direct fire. The effect of this flank and direct fire on the 
"enemy was most marked. In a short time not a hostile 
"shot came into our lines. Darkness now came on. Soon 
"the moon rose and lighted up the field; but not a rebel 
"could be seen between our lines and the Heights of Freder- 

let them come on until they were actually within a few feet of them, and 
then, rising, poured in a volley which literally decimated the foe. They 
fled hastily, and the Sixth corps was saved. It was now our turn and the 
Vermonters, followed by the Twenty-sixth, pressed forward on the flying 
foe, until we reached the brow of the hill from which they had come. As 
we went we took a great many prisoners." 

1 Battery G., Second U. S. Artillery, Lieutenant Butler; Ninety-eighth 
Pennsylvania and Sixty-second New York. 


As General Lee waited till Early should secure a positive 
advantage before he pushed in at any other point, the other 
divisions of the Sixth corps were not assaulted in any force, 
and the contest of Monday evening was the last serious 
fighting of the Chancellorsville campaign. 

General Sedgwick, having received no help or encourage- 
ment to expect help from General Hooker, and believing that 
he had in his front two-thirds as he actually had a majority 
of Lee's army, decided to fall back that night to Banks's 
Ford, where a pontoon bridge had been laid, and to cross the 
river, leaving Howe's division to the last to cover the move-- 
ment. The division accordingly faced the enemy till half- 
past ten o'clock, when Howe began to withdraw, his rear 
being guarded by the Vermont brigade. This held the front 
till midnight, when it was withdrawn. The order to retire 
was received with some astonishment by the men, as 
they had fully repulsed the enemy and knew of no reason 
why they should leave the field. But it was of course 
obeyed. The brigade fell back slowly over the two miles of 
ground between it and Banks's Ford, halting frequently, and 
finally forming a new line of battle, in the small hours, to 
guard the bridge head while the rest of the corps was 
crossing. A strong skirmish line, supported by the Second, 
Third and Sixth Yermont regiments, under the command of 
Colonel T. O. Seaver, acting division officer of the day, 
screened the movement. The skirmishers repulsed a slight 
attack and held their ground till the corps had crossed the 
bridge, which a Confederate battery up the river was now 
shelling. About three o'clock in the morning the three regi- 
ments withdrew across the river, and lastly the skirmishers 
were safely brought off by Major Dudley, reaching the river 
just before daylight, in a dense fog, to find the bridge on 
which they had expected to cross, cut loose from the south- 
ern bank and swinging down stream. All, however, save 
a few severely wounded men who had been left in a barn 


half a mile back, made out to get across, some in 
toon boats, and some by a bridge lower down the stream \ 
and as the daylight crept over the eastern hills the last of 
the brigade marched wearily np the heights on the northern 
shore. They dropped as soon as they were halted and slept 
till noon, their rest hardly broken even by the sheila from 
the enemy's batteries across the river, which fell along the 
lines of sleeping soldiers. 

The next night Hooker, against the wish and advice of 
some of his best generals, returned to his former camp on 
the north side of the Kappahannock. The campaign cost 
him his reputation as commander-in-chief ; and Lee the 
life of his best lieutenant, Stonewall Jackson. 1 

As for the Army of the Potomac, none of its members, 
except those of the Eleventh corps, felt any of the disgrace 
of defeat. They knew that the army had been beaten only 
by its own commander or by the lack of a commander. In 
the Sixth corps, and especially in Howe's division and in the 
Vermont brigade, the feeling of the troops approached exulta- 
tion. Of the thirteen guns lost by the Army of the Potomac 
not one belonged to the Sixth corps ; while Sedgwick was able 
to say in his report, that his corps " captured 15 pieces of 
artillery, nine of which were brought off, five battle flags, 
and 1,400 prisoners, including many officers of rank;" and 
that "no material of any kind belonging to the corps fell 
into the hands of the enemy, except several wagons and a 
forge, that were passing through Fredericksburg at the time 

1 The following grim interchange of wit between Union and Confed- 
erate pickets took place shortly after Hooker's failure and Stoneman's 
cavalry raid: 

Rebel picket Where's Hooker gone ? 
Union picket Gone to attend Stonewall Jackson's funeral. 
Rebel Say, has the Eleventh corps stopped running yet ? 
Union Oh, yes, they stopped soon after taking down your Stone wall. 
By the way don't you want our Stone-man to set him up again ? 

Rebel No, Jackson don't need any Yankee raid-iating, where he's gone. 


of its re-occupation by the enemy." General Howe and the 
men under him could claim that the Second division stormed 
five of the works on Marye's Heights, assisted in carrying 
Cemetery Hill, took six of the eight guns captured on the 
heights, all of which were brought off; and did substantially 
all the fighting of May 4th, "without losing a gun or a 
prisoner to the enemy." 1 The rest of the army appreciated 
these facts, and from this time on, the white cross of the 
division became a badge of high honor, and was worn with; 
especial pride by those who bore it. 

Colonel Grant issued an order to his brigade, in which 
he said: "You stormed and took the heights of Fredericks- 
"burg, which it is believed was one of the most brilliant feats 
" of the war. You took three pieces of artillery and many 
" prisoners. And although you are not in possession of those 
"heights, you were not driven from them; but left them to 
" advance on a retreating enemy. At the battle near Banks's 
"Ford, you sustained the attack of a vastly superior force, 
" no less than three brigades, and repulsed the enemy with 
"great slaughter, taking many prisoners, among them several 
"colonels, majors and line officers. Your undaunted courage, 
"unbroken front, steady aim and brilliant charge, give you 
"title to the highest praise. The thanks of the colonel com- 
" manding are freely given. In you he has the fullest con- 
"fidence and the greatest pride." 

Such praise of the Vermont regiments was not confined 
to their brigade commander. General Sedgwick said in his 
report : " It is no disparagement to the other regiments of 
corps, to say that the steadiness and valor of the Sixth Maine, 
Fifth Wisconsin, Seventh Massachusetts, and the Vermont 
brigade, could not be excelled ;" and he included Colonel L. 
A. Grant, among the brigade commanders whom he com- 
mended to the special notice of the commanding general for 

1 General Howe's Report. 


their "skill and personal gallantry." General Howe said: 
"I desire especially to mention General Neill and Colonels 
Grant and Seaver, for the gallant and intrepid manner in 
which they led the storming columns to the assault [on the 
heights.] Nothing has been more handsomely or success- 
fully done." He also mentions the "important and efficient" 
services rendered by Colonel Grant and his brigade in main- 
taining his line against heavy odds, in the battle of the next 
day. Colonel Grant, in his report, mentions as deserving the 
highest praise, Colonels Walbridge, Seaver, Stoughton 
Barney and Lewis ; and specially commends Colonel Seaver, 
for his services as division officer of the day ; Lieut. Colonel 
Pingree, commanding the Third, while Colonel Seaver was so 
detached; Major C. P. Dudley of the Fifth Vermont for 
services in bringing off the skirmish line at the Ford ; Acting 
Quartermaster A. Austin ; and Captain A. Brown, and 
Lieutenants Forbes, Bain, Butterfield and French of his 
staff. Of the line officers and rank and file he says : "Too 
much praise cannot be awarded to the officers *.nd men for 
their steady, brave and gallant conduct. The men did their 
duty, and the officers were there to direct and encourage. 
With the exception of the Twenty-sixth New Jersey, 1 not 
an officer failed to come to time ; not a man straggled from 
the ranks. When a regiment moved it did it almost with the 
precision of ordinary drill. All did their best. None left 
their ranks to dash forward, none to fall to the rear. 
They could not have done better." This was high praise. 
Beyond doubt the part taken by the Vermont brigade 
in this campaign and battle did more to establish its 
reputation as a fighting brigade, than any previous passage 
of its history. 

1 Colonel Grant adds later, that the Twenty-sixth New Jersey "re- 
deemed itself and left the contest a victorious and compact regiment." 


The losses of the Vermont regiments were as follows : 

MAT 3d. 

Killed. Wounded. Died of wounds. 

Second Vermont Regiment, 11 94 7 

Third " 16 

Fourth " " 01 

Sixth, " " 18 

Total, 13 109 7 
MAY 4th. 

Second Vermont regiment, 6 20 4 

Third, " " 2 24 1 

Fourth, " " 1 22 

Fifth, " " 3 11 1 

Sixth, " " 4 46 6 

Total, 16 123 12 

The aggregate of the losses of the two days was 29 killed 
and 232 wounded, of whom 19 died of their w r ounds. A few 
were reported missing at the time, but as usual they came in 
later, or were accounted for among the killed and wounded. 
Captain Luther Ainsworth of the Sixth was among the killed, 
and 11 line officers were wounded, one of them, Lieutenant 
Gleason of the Second, mortally. 

What proportion of the loss inflicted on the enemy may 
be credited to the Yermont brigade, cannot of course be ac- 
curately determined. Early reported his loss at 136 killed, 
838 wounded, and "some 500" missing these figures not 
including the loss in Barksdale's brigade or in the artillery. 
The missing must have been more numerous than he states 
by several hundred ; for of the 1,400 prisoners captured by 
the Sixth corps, almost all were from Early 's command. 
Adding Barksdale's loss of 600, Early's loss could not have 
been less than 2500, killed, wounded and captured ; and 
of this number a very large proportion were killed, wounded 
and taken by the Vermonters. Colonel Grant estimated the 
prisoners taken by the Vermont brigade in the repulse of 
Early at " at least 1,500 ;" but owing to the withdrawal of 
the brigade, and the darkness which prevailed at the close 


of the engagement only about 400 were actually brought in. 
"Many prisoners," says Colonel Grant, "were sent to the 
rear as fast as captured, sometimes with one man as guard, 
and sometimes with none ; and after dark they managed to 
remain behind, when our line was shortened." Among the 
Confederate officers who fell in front of the position of the 
Vermont brigade was Brig. General Hoke, who received a 
"painful" wound. Colonel Grant's estimate that his brigade 
inflicted five times the loss it suffered was probably within 

In the afternoon of May 5th, the Sixth corps moved 
three or four miles toward Falmouth, and lay there two 
days while the army marched by on its return to its old 
lines. On the 8th the corps marched back to White Oak 
Church and went into camp, the Yermont brigade camping 
about a mile back of its former camp, near Belle Plain. 
The Sixth corps was now on the left of the army, and 
the Vermont brigade on the left of the corps. Here a 
month was spent, while Lee was preparing for his second 
invasion of the North; and Hooker, his army reduced to 
80,000 men by the expiration of the terms of nine months 
troops and the losses of the last campaign, was waiting he 
knew not for what. It was a pleasant month for the troops. 
The forests assumed their summer dress. The weather was 
delightful. The camps were shaded with pines, and rustic 
halls with vestibules and arches and alcoves of evergreen, 
rose at the headquarters of the generals. Many ladies, wives 
and relatives of officers, visited the camps. There were 
balls, and "sounds of revelry by night," in these rustic 
palaces. The Vermonters rebuilt their brigade bakery; 
rations were good and ample; the health of the regiments 
was excellent; and the men made themselves comfortable 
for the day and the hour, with the soldier's lack of care 
for the morrow. 



Preliminary movements of the Gettysburg campaign Preparing to cross 
the Rappahannock The Fifth Vermont crosses in boats and captures 
the Confederate pickets The rest of the brigade follows Sharp skir- 
mishing on the south bank The march to the north Meeting of the- 
First and Second Vermont brigades Hard marching in Maryland 
" Put the Vermonters ahead and keep the column closed up." Gen- 
eral Meade succeeds Hooker Arrival on the field of Gettysburg 
The part taken by the brigade in the battle Engagement at Funks- 
town Recrossing the Potomac The brigade goes to New York city 
Services in sustaining the drafts Return to and reception by the 
Sixth corps Marching and counter marching Battle of Rappahannock 
Station The Mine Run campaign Winter at Brandy Station. 

General Lee began his march to the north with great 
secrecy on the 3d of June, leaving the corps of A. P. Hill in 
the lines of Fredericksburg to mask the movement. 

General Hooker, who was expecting some hostile develop- 
ment, was not slow to discover that Lee had an expedition of 
some sort on foot ; and on the 4th orders to be ready to march 
at a moment's notice with three day's rations, warned the 
army that its time of quiet was about over. Sedgwick was at 
the same time directed to march his corps to the river below 
Fredericksburg and to throw a division across, to feel of the 
enemy's lines and discover if any considerable portion of Lee's 
army remained in them. For this service he selected Howe's 
division, and on Friday, June 5th, it broke camp and marched 
to the river at Franklin's crossing. As it reached the ridge 
above the river at four p. M., several batteries were taking 


position along the brow, and the pontoon trains were moving 
down to the river bank. On the other bank the enemy had 
a strong intrenched picket line, from which an annoying fire 
was kept up on the pontoniers, as soon as the latter began 
work. It soon became plain that the Confederates must be 
cleared out of their rifle pits, if the bridges were to be laid 
without serious loss. Four or five batteries were accordingly 
advanced, and shell and grape began to plow the rebel breast- 
works into ridges, almost hiding them in clouds of dust. 
Sheltered in their pits, however, the Confederates kept their 
place, and half an hour of vigorous artillery practice appar- 
ently made no impression on them. General Howe thereupon 
decided to try another plan and called on Colonel Grant for 
two regiments to cross the river in pontoon boats, and drive 
the Confederate pickets from their rifle pits. Grant sent the 
Fifth Vermont and Twenty-sixth New Jersey. It did not 
look like an agreeable errand, and a number of the Jerseymen, 
whose time was about to expire, and, as they claimed, dating 
their nine months from the date of their enlistment instead 
of from their muster in, had expired, refused to start at the 
order. The rest accompanied the Vermont boys, as at the 
word of command they ran rapidly to the river, under a sharp 
fire from the opposite shore, launched the boats with the aid 
of the engineers, and piling into them pulled with a will across 
the stream. Two boats, bearing as many companies of the 
New Jersey troops, first reached the opposite shore. Two 
companies of the Fifth, G., Captain Jenne and C., Captain 
Barney, with Major Dudley, always foremost in duty or dan- 
ger, followed close behind them. The Jerseymen, however, 
on landing, halted under the shelter of the bank, while the 
Vermonters as soon as they struck the shore, dashed up the 
hill and pushed straight for the breastwork in front. Dudley 
and Private Henry Moren of Company G., were the first to 
spring into the rifle pits. The rest were close behind them, 
and at Dudley's summons the Confederate outpost, consisting 


of six officers and 84 men, threw down their arms and sur- 
rendered without attempt at resistance. The other companies 
followed as fast as boats could be procured; and it was a 
lively scene for a time, as the men, cheering loudly, pulled 
across the river, the boats returning laden with prisoners. 

As fast as the troops crossed they were ordered forward 
by Colonel Lewis, deploying as they advanced, till the line 
was halted along the stage road, half a mile from the river. 
Seven men of the Fifth were wounded during the crossing 
It was a gallant and successful little affair. The bridges 
could now be laid without hindrance. While the work was 
in progress, the Second and Third regiments crossed in 
boats, and were stationed on the opposite bank, the Fourth 
and Sixth remaining till a bridge was completed, when they 
marched across. The brigade was then deployed, encircling 
the bridge head on the southern bank, with a picket line 
thrown out for nearly a mile, confronting the enemy's pickets 
a few rods beyond. That night a company of the Eighteenth 
Mississippi, two officers and 34 men, on outpost duty in the 
ravine of Deep Bun, came in and surrendered to the Union 
picket reserve consisting of two Yermont companies, 1 saying 
that they supposed they were surrounded, and besides they 
had "got enough of the war." Next morning the enemy's 
skirmishers attacked the skirmish line on the left, held by the 
Sixth Yermont. The firing was very sharp for two hours, 
and there was more or less shooting all day. The enemy 
to all appearance had two men to the Yermonters' one; 
but the latter yielded no ground, and the enemy's stretcher- 
bearers were kept pretty busy during the forenoon. By noon 
a fresh supply of ammunition was called for, many of the 
men having fired over thirty rounds apiece. In this skirm- 
ishing the Sixth regiment lost four men killed and 13 

1 Company D. of the Fourth, and B. of the Fifth Vermont. 


During Friday night and half of Saturday the Vermont 
brigade was the only Union force on the south side of the 
Rappahannock with an entire Confederate corps posted 
along the heights above them. Saturday afternoon another 
brigade marched over, and shovels were called into play, and 
rifle pits and breastworks made the position more secure. 
It was not Lee's policy, however, to permit a serious en- 
gagement at that time and place. On the other hand 
Sedgwick found convincing indications that the heights were 
still held in force; and he accordingly attempted no form- 
idable demonstration. On the 8th, letters and orders cap- 
tured in a cavalry engagement between almost the entire 
mounted forces of both armies, at Brandy Station, revealed 
the fact of Lee's presence at Culpepper, and his design of 
invasion of the North. Then came the news that Lee's ad- 
vance had pushed across the Blue Ridge into the Shenan- 
doah Valley and was threatening Winchester. Hooker's 
plan in this juncture was to attack and destroy Hill, and to 
call Lee back by placing the army of the Potomac between 
him and Richmond, and cutting off his communications. It 
was a good plan ; but it found no favor at Washington. Mr. 
Lincoln's quaint advice to Hooker was " not to take any risk 
of being entangled upon the river, like an ox jumped half 
over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs front and rear 
without a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other." 
The alternative plan, to fall back on Washington by the 
interior line, was consequently adopted; and the Army of 
the Potomac was at once put in motion to the north. 

The Vermont brigade moved with the Sixth corps at 
nine o'clock on Saturday evening, June 13th. The men had 
had eight days of almost constant marching, skirmishing and 
intrenching, by night and day; but they started without com- 
plaint. The night was dark; the roads, made slippery by 
thunder showers, ran for miles through thick woods, and 
the troops plunged on in the darkness, a long invisible pro- 


cession of laughing, singing, swearing, and stumbling soldiers. 
At two o'clock next morning the corps halted north of Poto- 
mac Creek ; and remained there that day, while the immense 
army trains moved by, three or four wagons abreast, hurried 
forward by voice and lash. Starting at nine that evening, 
the corps had another night march, the way lit for miles by 
the fires in the abandoned camps of the troops which had 
been stationed there. After a short halt at Stafford Court 
House, at daylight, the column moved on toward Dumfries. 
The day was terribly hot, and the dust, stirred by tens of 
thousands of hoofs and feet, rolled up in suffocating clouds. 
Hundreds of men fell out ; many were sunstruck, and some 
died by the roadside ; but the column pushed on, reaching 
the depopulated old town of Dumfries at three o'clock, 
when the exhausted men were permitted to throw themselves 
down in the fields, rest their blistered feet, and apply the 
internal remedies of " hard tack " and coffee. The brigade 
had perhaps no more trying march, in all its history. Here 
at Dumfries the Yermont brigade was drawn up in hollow 
square to hear the sentence imposed on forty men of the 
Twenty-sixth New Jersey, who had been court-martialed for 
refusing to obey orders at the last crossing of the Kappahan- 
nock, and to see part of it inflicted. The culprits were 
drummed out of camp to the tune of the Rogue's March, and 
were further ordered to be sent to hard service on the public 
works; but this portion of the sentence was subsequently 
remitted. On the 18th the New Jersey regiment was mus- 
tered out, and the brigade thenceforth consisted of Yermont- 
ers only. 

The grateful sleep of the men that night was broken at 
two A. M. by the order to fall in ; and at four the corps was 
again in motion. In the afternoon it reached and forded the 
Occoquan at Wolf Eun Shoals, where it crossed the outer 
lines about Washington, there held by the Second Yermont 
brigade. A rest of two hours, a chance to bathe, and a visit 


with the Fourteenth Vermont, whose camp was at the Shoals, 
refreshed officers and men after another hard and dusty day's 
march; and they moved on cheerily six miles, to Fairfax 
Station, having made about twenty miles in fourteen hours. 
Here the corps halted for a day, which was made the most 
of in resting and visiting with the men of the Second Ver- 
mont brigade and First Vermont Cavalry, who came in large 
numbers to see the veterans whose praise was in the mouths 
of all. The two brigades fraternized cordially on this their 
first meeting, and parted with mutual good wishes. 

While here the news came to the army that Ewell had 
overwhelmed Milroy, at Winchester, and that Lee was push- 
ing unopposed for Maryland ; and the halt was improved 
to overhaul the corps trains, reduce officers' baggage, and 
make other preparations for the hard marching and fighting 
likely to come. 

On the 18th, the brigade moved to Fairfax Court House. 
On the 20th, the Sixth corps was sent to the southwest ten 
miles, by the well worn way of Centreville, Bull Run and 
Manassas Junction, to Bristoe's Station. Here it lay, picket- 
ing a wide circuit, for three days, on two of which the 
artillery duels in the fights between Pleasanton's and Stuart's 
cavalry, near Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps, were plainly audi- 
ble. On the rainy night of the 25th, the brigade returned 
with the corps to Centreville, where the Second Vermont 
brigade, which had now joined the army of the Potomac, was 
found, and the two brigades marched near each other from 
there to Maryland. Passing through Drainsville on the 27th, 
the corps crossed the Potomac on pontoons, and bivouacked 
that night near Edwards Ferry, once more on northern soil, 
where crops of corn and ripening wheat told of undisturbed 
cultivation, and made a landscape strongly in constrast with 
the war-scathed region in which the troops had been for 
eight months. 

The army was doing some pretty good marching at this 


time; and the corps made its twenty miles a day through 
Poolesville, New Market and Westminster, reaching Man- 
chester, Md., on the 30th, thirty miles southeast of Gettys- 
burg, Pa., whither Lee was moving. 

The Army of the Potomac now once more changed com- 
manders. On the 27th, Hooker, provoked by the refusal of 
General Halleck to permit the garrison of Harper's Ferry to 
be attached to his army, resigned the command ; and on the 
28th, Major General George G. Meade, the quiet, undemon- 
strative, self-contained and efficient commander of the Fifth 
corps, was placed at the head of the army. 


During the 1st of July, the first day of the battle of 
Gettysburg, the Sixth corps lay quietly at Manchester, un- 
aware that the great battle which all expected had already 
begun. At night, however, came orders to move to Gettys- 
burg. Howe's division started at once, but was delayed by 
the moving of other troops, and made but four or five miles 
before daylight. It then struck the Baltimore and Gettys- 
burg turnpike, and the corps moved off freely on the longest, 
most rapid and most exciting day's march in its history. It 
was thirty miles to the field, and it was on this march, when 
the fate of the army and the issue of the war might depend 
on the presence of the corps, that General Sedgwick compli- 
mented the Yermont brigade by his famous order : " Put the 
Vermonters ahead and keep the column well closed up." 1 As 
the brigade crossed the State line into Pennsylvania, at eleven 

1 " It was during this time that Sedgwick directed me ' to put the Ver- 
monters ahead, and keep everything well closed up.' It was not the only 
time he complimented the soldiers from Vermont. His compliments many 
times cost them very dear ; for they were the high compliments of placing 
them > on many battlefields, in the foremost position of danger." Colonel 
M. T. McMahon, Adjutant General Sixth Army corps. 


A. M., the first shadow of the great battle-cloud reached it, in 
a rumor, floating back along the road, that there was heavy 
fighting in front, and that General Reynolds of the First 
corps had been killed. About midday the regiments filed 
into the fields beside the road and the men sank upon the 
ground. " Make no fires, for there will be no time to cook 
anything only a fsw minutes for rest," was the instruction 
as the line halted. All too soon came the summons to fall in 
again, and the column started on. At Littletown, Pa., ten 
miles from the field, the signs of strife became unmistakable 
in carriages bearing wounded officers, and soldiers limping 
into the village the first of the " red rays " streaming from 
the battle field, so soon to crimson earth and air and sky, 
over all the country round. 1 Pressing forward at a rapid rate, 
and nearing the field, the sound of the battle, like a mighty 
pounding echoing among the hills, became more distinct ; and 
the battle clouds rising at the front and frequent puffs of white 
smoke appearing suddenly high in air, told of showers of 
bursting shells and shrapnel, raining upon serried ranks. 

The sun was scalding hot, and the men, each loaded with 
gun, blanket, haversack, cartridge box, five days' rations and 
forty rounds of cartridges, had made already more than a 
long day's march ; but they hurried on. The farmers' wives 
and daughters along the way, brought water for the thirsty 
defenders of the Union. The stragglers multiplied ; but few of 
the Vermonters fell out, for every man felt that he was needed, 
and wanted a hand in the battle that they hoped would end 
the war. 

1 "Already the corps was meeting the tide of wounded hastening with 
desperate energy to the rear that most demoralizing experience to a body of 
troops approaching a battlefield. With scarcely any exception the tale they 
told was one of disaster to the Federal army. ' You fellows will catch it ; 
the whole army is smashed to pieces !' said more than one brawny fugitive 
with a bleeding arm or a bandaged head, glancing over his shoulder as 
though fearing the pursuit of a rebel column." Army Letter. 


The roar of the combat grew louder and louder, and 
filled the air with almost deafening volume, as between, five 
and six o'clock, Howe's division, approaching the field from 
the southeast by the Baltimore pike, crossed Eock Creek, 
and halted, about a mile in the rear of General Meade's 
headquarters and between the extremities of the great horse- 
shoe line of battle. A mile to the left, but seeming to be not 
half the distance, rose the wooded knoll of Little Hound Top ; 
and from beyond it and to its right came the incessant roll 
of musketry and thunder of artillery. The fiery Hood was 
then making his desperate and well nigh successful attempt 
to carry Little Bound Top, and Longstreet, having driven 
back the Third corps, was endeavoring to break through on 
Meade's left. Within the last three hours the Third, Fifth 
and Second corps had lost 10,000 men. The army had thus 
far lost about 20,000. It was an anxious time around General 
Meade's headquarters. The Sixth corps was welcome. 

" I was at Meade's headquarters," says Mr. C. C. Coffin, 
describing the moment. "It was nearly six o'clock. The 
" sound of battle grew louder and nearer. Hill was threatening 
" the centre. A cloud of dust could be seen down the Balti- 
" more pike. Had Stuart gained our rear ? There were anx- 
" ious countenances around the cottage where the flag of the 
" commander-in-chief was flying. Officers gazed with their 
"field glasses. 'It is not cavalry, but infantry,' said one. 
" ' There is the flag. It is the Sixth corps !' We could see the 
"advancing bayonets gleaming in the setting sun. Faces 
" which a moment before were grave, became cheerful. It was 
" an inspiring sight. The troops of that corps had marched 
"thirty-two miles during the day. They crossed Rock Creek, 
"filed into the field past the ammunition trains, threw them- 
" selves upon the ground, tossed aside their knapsacks and 
"wiped the sweat from their sunburned cheeks." 

They were not allowed to rest long, however, before the 
order to fall in again came, and though it was supposed. to 


mean an advance into battle, it was promptly and eagerly 
obeyed. " The dashing readiness," says General Howe, " with 
which the division went on to the field, on the evening of the 
2d, after its long and continuous march of the previous day 
and night, and the handsome way it bore itself during the 
engagement, was worthy of its former reputation." Howe's 
division was divided, Neill's brigade being sent to the right to 
reinforce General Slocum, while the First Vermont brigade was 
moved a mile and a half to the left and stationed near Little 
Bound Top, in one of the most important and responsible 
positions on the field, holding the extreme left of the army 
of the Potomac, and picketing that flank of the army that 
night. During the next and final day of the battle, while the 
Second Yermont brigade was doing its first and last fighting, 
and winning laurels on the left centre, the First brigade held 
its position on the left, between the Taneytown road and 
Bound Top. Some stray shot and shell came over into its 
lines and spattered some of the men with earth ; but they 
saw but little of the fighting which shook the solid ground 
beneath their feet, and suffered no loss. 

On the 4th, the Fourth regiment was on the picket line, 
and was ordered forward a mile and a half, till it struck the 
enemy's skirmishers, and had a little brush with them, in 
which one man was wounded. This skirmish was about the 
last fighting done on the field of Gettysburg. 

That night' Lee began his retreat ; and the next morning 
the Sixth corps, passing around Bound Top and across the 
battlefield to the Fairfield road, followed on his rear for some 
ten miles. The houses and barns along the way were full of 
Confederate wounded, in charge of their own surgeons. A 
mile or two beyond Fairfield, the Fairfield pass opens across 
the mountains. Through this Lee retreated with the mass 
of his army, leaving a rear guard so strongly posted in the 
gorge that Sedgwick did not venture to try to force the pass 
without distinct orders, though he reported that he could 



do it if so directed. He remained in front of it during the 
6th, when, General Meade having concluded that he could 
make a more effective pursuit by a flank route, the corps 
was withdrawn, save a single brigade left to harass the 
enemy's rear, and marched due south, by way of Emmetts- 
burg and Lewistown, till it nearly reached Frederick, when 
turning west, it struck across the Catoctin mountain range, 
to Middletown. The crossing of the mountain was effected 
over a narrow and rocky mountain path, through Highland 
Pass, in the rainy night of the 7th. The march was a 
scramble up and a tumble down the mountain, in the dark- 
ness, and the soldiers, wet, muddy, footsore, and in hun- 
dreds of cases barefooted, were glad to halt and rest the 
next day near Middletown, where Meade's army was con- 

On the 9th, the corps, turning to the northwest, marched 
across the South Mountain by Middletown Pass, to Boons- 
boro. Thence, turning back to the north, the Sixth corps 
moved up the Antietam Valley toward Hagerstown, where a 
large part of what was left of Lee's army lay, the rest being 
stretched for seven miles along the road from Hagerstown to 
Williamsport on the Potomac, waiting for the river to sub- 
side, and for a pontoon bridge to be built which should take 
them back to Virginia. General Meade had made a wide 
detour, and having marched his army two miles for his 
opponent's one, was now fairly on Lee's flank. 


Two miles below Hagerstown is the little village of 
Funkstown, notable as the spot where the First Vermont brig- 
ade held a skirmish line against repeated attacks of strong 
Confederate lines of battle. This engagement occurred on the 
10th. Howe's division headed the column of the corps, that 
day, preceded by Buford's cavalry. Moving toward Hagers- 


town along the turnpike, in the early morning, Buford came 
on the enemy's cavalry about three miles out from Boons- 
boro, and drove them for three miles, to and across Beaver 
Creek, a small stream emptying into the Antietam, south of 
Funkstown. Following the cavalry, Howe crossed the stream, 

and, under orders from General Sedgwick, halt- 
July 10, 1863. ' , , , ,, . 

ed to wait for the rest of the corps. During 

the forenoon Buford, after driving the enemy's cavalry 
through Funkstown, found himself confronted by a strong 
force of Confederate infantry, with artillery, which advanced 
from their entrenchments and gave him battle. He fell 
back fighting to a crest just south of Funkstown, where 
he made a stand. While his men were holding the enemy 
in check, Buford rode back, in person, to Howe, whose 
division was a mile and a half back, to ask him to come 
on and relieve him, as his men were getting out of am- 
munition. Howe's orders were such that he did not feel 
justified in advancing without authority from General Sedg- 
wick. To procure this took some time, and Buford, whose 
troopers, fighting dismounted, had exhausted their carbine 
cartridges, drew off his command to the right before the 
infantry supports arrived. General Howe at once it was 
now noon ordered Colonel Grant to occupy the position 
in front with his brigade, and Grant, seeing that there was 
no time to be lost, immediately moved forward. Deploying 
the Fifth and Sixth regiments as skirmishers, he hurried 
them to the wooded crest from which the cavalry had 
retired. It was a race with the enemy's skirmishers to gain 
the crest; but the Yermonters reached and occupied it first 
and did not leave it. The position was a good one, with 
a fair amount of cover for the men. The skirmish line, when 
formed, stretched nearly two miles along the crest. The 
Sixth Vermont was on the right, its right posted in a piece 
of woods, and the Fifth on the left. A gap between the 
left of the Fifth and Antietam Creek was filled by two com- 


panies of the Second. The rest of the Second regiment was 
held in reserve ; and the Third and Fourth regiments sup- 
ported a battery which General Howe had sent forward, to 
meet artillery with artillery. The enemy soon opened a very 
severe fire from several batteries near Funkstown ; and it 
became clear that he was in strong force there and that the-; 
position was an important one to him. In point of fact Lee^ 
had been brought to bay by his antagonist and the elements \, 
and he was that day disposing his army, two or three miles 
away, for the desperate encounter which he fully expected. 
It was of very great consequence to him to guard the ap- 
proach from Funkstown to his position while making his dis- 
positions and throwing up his intrenchments, and Anderson's 
brigade, of Georgia troops 1 , commanded at this time by 
Colonel White, Anderson having been wounded at Gettys- 
burg, was sent to hold back the Union advance, as long as 
possible, along the line of Antietam Creek. To this end the 
Confederate commander wished to occupy the crest in ques- 
tion. Colonel Grant saw that the enemy wanted it ; and ac- 
cordingly decided to hold it. He took the sharp artillery fire 
to mean an infantry attack to follow, and prepared to meet 
it. The Third regiment was sent forward to support the 
Sixth, three companies of the Third being deployed to 
strengthen the centre of the skirmish line, which was every- 
where much extended. In like manner the Fourth was sent 
to support the Fifth, and two companies put in to strengthen 
that part of the skirmish line. The eight companies of the 
Second not on the skirmish line supported the battery. The 
orders to the Colonels were to hold the line at all hazards. 

1 Consisting of the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh and Fifty-ninth 
Georgia, and Tenth Georgia battalion. Colonel Grant speaks of the Con- 
federate force as "Anderson's old brigade, of seven regiments." If this 
number is correct, another regiment was attached to the brigade in this 


About two o'clock and while the supports mentioned were 
moving into position, the enemy advanced in full line of 
battle, preceded by skirmishers, against the centre of Grant's 
line. The Confederates probably supposed that the skirm- 
ishers before them were dismounted cavalry and expected 
to brush them away with ease. But the Vermonters did not 
budge an inch, but stood and met the lines of gray with a 
fire so close and deadly that they recoiled and fell back to 
cover. Having reformed his line, White again advanced, 
throwing out at the same time a regiment from his right, ,o 
ford the Antietam and take Grant's line in reverse from the 
left. To meet this, Colonel Walbridge was sent to the left 
with the left wing of the Second regiment ; and while the 
brigade again repulsed the front attack Walbridge repulsed 
the flanking movement, driving the enemy well back from 
the stream and extending the skirmish line of the brigade 
along it. 

The brigade was now, with the exception of three com- 
panies of the Second which remained as a su pport to the bat- 
tery, all deployed on a skirmish line two miles long, with no 
supports within a mile and a half. The men took advantage 
of such partial shelter as they could get from the rail fences 
and timber ; and when the Confederate line of battle again 
advanced, they for the third time received and repulsed it, 
and followed it up for a short distance towards Funkstown, 
whither the enemy retired. As the centre of the enemy's 
line fell back in confusion through a cornfield, some of the 
Yermonters sprang upon the fence in front, and tauntingly 
called on them to come back, as there was nothing there but 
" some Yankee militia." Bat the discouraged Confederates 
did not return. The men of the Vermont regiments had sixty 
rounds of cartridges in their boxes and pockets, and many 
of thorn used them all, and a fresh supply was sent for, and 
was brought up on stretchers, during the engagement. At 
no point was their skirmish line pushed back; and the 


brigade held the ground the rest of the day and night 
and till relieved by other troops of Howe's division, next 

The Confederate brigade which suffered this rebuff was 
a part of General Hood's division, and a portion of it re- 
ceived the desperate charge of the Vermont cavalry at 
Gettysburg. The deaths of Farnsworth and the Vermonters 
who fell with him in that charge, were doubly avenged by the 
men of the Old brigade, at Funkstown. Had the Sixth corps 
been pushed in on Lee's flank after this transaction, and 
properly supported, some serious trouble might have been 
made for the army of Northern Virginia. But the orders to 
the generals were not to bring on a general engagement ; and 
General Lee was not molested. The exploit of the Ver- 
monters, however, was a tall feather in the cap of the* 
brigade, and they were not allowed to remain wholly 
unconscious that they had done a good thing. Colonel 
Grant in his report says: " It is believed that another in- 
stance of a skirmish line, extending over so great a distance, 
repeatedly repelling the assaults of strong lines of infantry 
at different points, cannot be found in the history of any 
war." General Howe said of it : "The troops that happened 
to be there on our line, were what we considered in the Army 
of the Potomac unusually good ones. They quietly repulsed 
the rebels twice, and the third time they came up they sent 
them flying into Funkstown." 1 General Sedgwick, always 
chary of praise, said in his report : " The Vermont brigade 
(Grant's of the Second division) were deployed as skirm- 
ishers, covering a front of over two miles, and during the 
afternoon repulsed three successive attacks made in line of 
battle. The remarkable conduct of the brigade on this 
occasion deserves high praise." 

l General Howe, before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. 
Vol. I., 1865, p. 315. 


The loss of the brigade was nine killed and 59 wounded, 
of whom seven died of their wounds, as follows : l 

Killed. Wounded. Died of wounds. 

Second Vermont Regiment, 16 

Third " " .1 4 1 

Fourth " 1 24 2 

Fifth MM 86 

Sixth " " 8 19 4 

Total, 9 59 7 

Colonel Stoughton of the Fourth, who distinguished 
himself, as did all the regimental commanders, by his cool- 
ness, had the misfortune to receive a bullet wound in the 
head during the afternoon, which cost him his right eye, and 
there were several line officers among the wounded. Colonel 
Grant estimated the enemy's loss at not less than 200. Citi- 
zens of Funkstown variously stated the rebel killed at from 
30 to 50, and their wounded at from 100 to 150. 

On the 12th, the Sixth corps moved on through Funks- 
town, the Confederates falling back as it advanced, and 
down toward Williamsport, where it formed line of battle 
along the hills in front of Lee's lines, dimly seen through the 
mist of a rainy day. But General Meade waited a day too 
long to get forward his reserves, and during the dark and 
foggy night of the 13th Lee succeeded in placing the swollen 
current of the Potomac between him and his enemy. The 
disappointment of his escape, was, however, alleviated for 
the army, by the belief that the Confederates had got enough 
of invasions of the North, and by the news of the fall of 
Vicksburg ; while the "fire in the rear," of the draft riots 
in New York, then in progress, intensified the determination 
of every good soldier to fight the issue through, whether it 
was to take one year or ten. 

Countermarching on the 15th, the Sixth corps moved 

'These casualties are erroneously reported in the U. S. Official Records 
as occurring at the battle of Gettysburg. 


back to Boonsboro ; camped that night on the same ground 
it occupied on the march from Maryland in October, 1862, 
and crossing the South Mountain next day, moved down the 
valley via Middletown and Petersville, to the Potomac at 
Berlin. Here several corps were waiting for an opportunity 
to cross the river by the bridge. The turn of the Sixth corps 
came on Sunday the 10th, and as it moved back to the 
sacred soil, the bands played : " O, carry me back to Old 

The route of the corps down the valley was mainly the 
same as that taken by it eight months before, except that 
instead of going by White Plain and New Baltimore it kept 
on to Salem, and thence was sent out toward Manassas Gap, 
which had been occupied by the enemy. Ewell was driven 
out of the Gap on the 23d, and the Sixth corps, not being 
needed there, turned back and passing south by the way 
of Orleans, halted and went into camp on the 25th, on the 
hills just west of Warrenton. Howe's division here camped 
about an old and ruined Baptist Church, surrounded by 
a thick growth of timber. Here the brigade had five days 
of comparative rest the first since they left the Rap- 
pahannock in June. The weather was hot and showery, 
and the fields full of ripe blackberries, and the good effect 
of wholesome fruit on the health of the troops was unmis- 
takable. On the 1st of August the division marched to 
Waterloo, six miles west of Warrenton, remained there five 
days, and on the 6th marched back and camped two miles 
from Warrenton Springs. General Lee in the meantime with- 
drew his army to the south of the Rapidan. Drills and 
inspections and light picket duty were the occupation of the 
troops of Howe's division. 1 

1 " It is safe to say that no division in the army performed more labor 
in drills, than Howe's." Surgeon Stevens. 



A novel piece of service now fell to the lot of the brigade. 
The New York draft riots, in July, in which colored orphan 
asylums, armories and draft stations were sacked and burned ; 
black men hung from the trees and lamp posts; rioters 
knocked from the tops of six-story blocks by the police and 
provost guards ; and fights of the mob with the few regulars 
on duty in the city took place, which left the streets strewn 
with dead and wounded ; together with the subsidiary riots 
in Jersey City, Boston, Troy and other places had aroused 
the strongest feeling throughout the North, and grave appre- 
hensions on the part of the government. In consequence 
of these disturbances, anc'l at the request of Gov. Seymour, 
the draft had been suspended in New York city and other 
places. But if the government was to sustain its authority 
at homo, of course the draft could not stay suspended. The 
Federal authorities determined that it should be resumed, 
and inflexibly completed ; and they did not propose to leave 
any opportunity for further outbreaks. General Dix, in 
whose wisdom and resolution there was full reliance, was 
in command of the department, with his headquarters in 
New York. The cool and judicious Canby was detailed 
to assist him, and two brigades of regulars being about 
all that was left of the regular army under General E. B. 
Ayres, was detached from the Army of the Potomac, and 
ordered to New York. To this force the government decided 
to add several thousand of the best volunteer troops in the 
army selecting for the purpose troops of tried courage and 
steadfast loyalty, who could be depended on in any emer- 
gency, and who would set an example of order, sobriety, 
and general good conduct. For this service, the Vermont 
brigade was the first volunteer organization selected. This 
was done, not at all at the instance of any one connected 


with the brigade; l and when an order came to the brigade 
commander to turn in the quartermaster's supplies, march 
to Warrenton Junction, proceed thence by rail to Alexandria, 
and report to General Halleck for further orders, no one in 
the command, high or low, had any idea where it was going. 
The prevailing opinion in the corps was that the brigade 
was wanted to carry Fort Wagner, in Charleston Harbor, 
the attempt to storm which had just failed. Several indi- 
vidual regiments of high character for discipline and reliabil- 
ity were also detached the whole making an "army of 
occupation," for New York city, of some 12,000 men. 

The order above alluded to was received by Colonel 
Grant on the 10th of August. The Fifth Vermont, which was 
out five miles, on picket, near Hart's Mill on the upper 
Rappahannock, was at once recalled. The brigade broke 
camp next day and marched to Warrenton Junction ; and on 
the 13th and 14th the regiments went by rail to Alexandria, 
embarked on the transports Illinois and Ericsson, and were 
taken to New York, arriving there on the 20th. Here Colonel 
Grant reported to General Canby, and was ordered to land 
his brigade and march, without special parade, to Tompkins 
Square, and to establish there his headquarters, stationing 
three of his regiments there, one in Washington Square, 
and one in Madison Square. The regiments landed and 
went into camp in the squares named on the 21st and 
22d. Two regiments of regulars that had been already 
stationed in Tompkins Square which was near " Mackerel- 
ville," one of the worst parts of the city, swarming with 
rioters and criminals were also placed under the command 
of Colonel Grant. The ammunition supplied to the troops 
included no blank cartridges. The officers were resolute and 
the men perfectly ready to obey orders ; and there would 

1 It was stated, at the time, that General Sedgwick was asked to detail 
his "best brigade," and that he at once designated the Vermont brigade. 


have been no trifling about the business, if they had been 
called on to face a mob. The law-abiding people of the 
metropolis slept more soundly after the arrival of the troops ; 
and the city was never more quiet, since its first settlement, 
than during the draft which soon followed. 

In the first week of September, the Second, Third, Fifth 
and Sixth regiments were sent respectively to Poughkeepsie, 
Newark and Kingston, N. Y., where drafts were ordered, and 
took place, during their stay in those cities. A week later 
they returned to New York, whence the regiments went by 
rail and transports, on successive days, to Alexandria, where 
the brigade was collected on the 16th. The respect of the 
New York mob for the uniform and the authority of the 
United States was noticeably strengthened by this little 
campaign in the north. About the time of the departure of 
the troops an order was issued by General Canby, compli- 
menting them in high terms for their good behavior; and 
the New York World said of them : " The admirable conduct 
" of the soldiers and officers of the ' army of occupation ' in 
"this city has been remarked by all classes of our citizens. 
"The brawls, drunkenness and scenes of violence, which are 
" so common in European cities where large bodies of troops 
"are quartered, we are happily free from. Nothing could 
"be better than the behavior of the troops now in New 
" York. If the soldiers now in this city are a fair sample of 
" our armies, we can safely claim having the best, in a moral 
"sense, as well as the bravest and most patient troops on 
"earth." On the other hand the troops were well treated 
by the people of New York and the other cities where they 
were stationed; and the brief return to civilization, the 
scenes and pleasures of the city, and the opportunities to see 
friends, hundreds of whom went down from Vermont to visit 
the soldiers, made this episode in their army life as agree- 
able as it was unwonted. Though the opportunities for 
desertion were almost unlimited, the desertions from the Ver- 


mont regiments were very few during their northern vacation. 

On the 18th, in a pouring rain, the brigade started from 
Alexandria once more, for the front, the soldiers taking their 
overcoats which had been stored in that city since the pre- 
vious spring. The brigade guarded on the march an army 
train of 150 mule teams and 1,000 beef cattle, for the supply 
of the army ; and as cattle move slowly the march was made 
at moderate speed. It was over the old route, via Fairfax 
Court House, Centreville, and the line of the Orange and 
Alexandria Kailroad, which 10,000 men of the Eleventh 
corps were at this time guarding against less than 1,000 

Crossing the Eappahannock below the railroad bridge, 
on the 22d, the brigade marched next day to Culpepper 
Court House, around which the Army of the Potomac was 
lying. The march past the camps of the various corps from 
Brandy Station to Culpepper was quite an ovation for the 
Vermont boys, the troops lining the roadside and cheering 
them heartily. Three miles south of the village of Culpepper, 
the brigade passed the camp of the Tenth Vermont, now 
part of the Third corps, and halted there to exchange saluta- 
tions. Two miles more brought it to the camp of the Sixth 
corps. Here it was met by a cavalcade of corps, division 
and brigade staff officers; and passing on to the camp of 
Howe's division, General Neill's brigade was found drawn 
up to receive the Vermonters, who were greeted with music 
and military salutes, as well as by the less formal welcomes 
of their old comrades. The brigade had made its mark in 
the army, and its return was a welcome event. And though 
camp life was quite a different thing from their " white-glove 
service " in New York, the men had had about enough of the 
latter, and were on the whole glad to be back again at the 

About this time some 600 recruits, chiefly drafted men 
and substitutes, arrived, and were distributed among the 


Second, Third and Fourth regiments, and squad-drills were 

During the first week of October, after two weeks of un- 
disturbed quiet, the Sixth corps was ordered forward to 
relieve the Second corps, on the line between Cedar Bun 
Mountain and Kobinson Biver a small affluent of the 
Bapidan. The corps was here to picket a line two miles 
long, from Bapidan Station to the right. Across the stream, 
a few rods away, was the picket line of the enemy. From 
the signal station on the summit of the mountain near by, 
the eye ranged over one of the finest views in Virginia, em- 
bracing the scene of the battle between Banks and Stonewall 
Jackson a year before. The long lines of fresh red earth, 
winding with the river, showed that Lee had strongly 
intrenched his position, and the course of the Bapidan could 
be followed for 20 miles by the smoke of his camps. The 
corps marched with eight days' rations, and with no little 
growling on the part of the men that they should be "made 
pack-mules to carry wormy bread," and the recruits especially 
found the fourteen miles' march a trying one. The service 
on the line though requiring especial vigilance, was ami- 
cable as between the opposing pickets, and daily exchanges 
of newspapers, instead of bullets, took place between them. 

The eight days' rations had not been exhausted, when a 
movement on the part of General Lee, occasioned a sudden 
withdrawal of the corps. Chafing under his reverse at 
Gettysburg, and aware that two corps of the Army of the 
Potomac had been detached and sent to Tennessee, Lee put 
his army in motion, past General Meade's right, hoping 
to place himself across the latter's communications with 
Washington, and force a general engagement, on ground of 
his own selection. Meade's first plan, when he discovered the 
movement, was to attack Lee while crossing the Bappahan- 
nock; but his purpose was defeated by erroneous informa- 
tion and want of information, and the campaign became & 


series of flank movements for position and finally a race of 
the two armies for the heights of Centre ville. In the course 
of these operations there was plenty of skirmishing, and 
several sharp cavalry fights ; and an engagement of the Second 
corps with A. P. Hill's division took place at Bristoe's Station, 
in which Warren took 450 prisoners and five guns, with slight 
Union loss. The Army of the Potomac was the first to 
reach and occupy Centreville, and no general engagement 
took place. In this campaign the Vermont brigade left its 
camp fires burning below Cedar Mountain an hour before 
midnight on the 10th, and stacked arms on Centreville 
Heights at three o'clock p. M., on the 14th. The movements 
of the brigade and the corps during that time were briefly as 
follows : In the night of the llth, the Sixth corps crossed 
the Kappahannock at Rappahannock Station. On the 12th 
it re-crossed the river the Vermont brigade leading and 
taking position on the right bank to cover the re-crossing of 
the Fifth and Sixth corps and advanced to Brandy Station, 
expecting to give battle to Lee at Culpepper Court House ; 
but he was not there. The next night the corps camped two 
miles south of Bristoe's, twenty-five miles as the crow flies 
north of where it lay the night before, having marched thirty 
miles between midnight of the 12th and nine P. M. of the 13th, 
with two halts of several hours each at Rappahannock 
Station and Warrenton Junction. The brigade camped that 
night, with the corps, between Centreville and Chantilly, the 
men tired and footsore, but plucky and prepared for the 
battle, of which the sound of Warren's fight at the rear that 
afternoon was taken to be the prelude. At daybreak next 
morning the troops stood to arms, and in the afternoon a 
skirmish between part of the Second corps and a cavalry 
force with artillery, at Blackburn's Ford, aroused momentary 
expectation of an order into battle. But Lee knew better 
than to fight on ground so favorable to his antagonist ; and 

after once more destroying a good part of the railroad 

. 26 


between Bull Run and Warrenton, he retired behind the 
Rappahannock. The only loss sustained by the Sixth corps 
in this movement, was from the guerrillas which infested the 
region. 1 

The Sixth corps started back to the south on the 18th, 
Howe's division moving over the old Bull Run battlefield to 
Gainesville, where, about five o'clock p. M. on the 19th, it 
met Ouster's brigade, of Kilpatrick's cavalry division, which 
an hour or two before had been attacked on flank, front and 
rear by Stuart and Fitz Hugh Lee, at Buckland's Mills, and 
driven back in serious disorder. Lee was pressing on 
Ouster's rear, and the sight of a Union infantry column was 
not an unwelcome one to the latter. Letting Ouster's men, 
among whom were the First Vermont cavalry, pass through 
their lines, the infantry made hasty preparations to receive the 
pursuers. A skirmish line consisting of the Sixth Vermont and 
Seventh Maine was thrown forward, and had barely deployed 
when the Confederate troopers came up in hot pursuit of a 
light battery, which they would probably have captured in 
the next five minutes. As they emerged from a piece of 
woods, and dashed into the open in front of the Union 
skirmishers, they were received with a volley and a cheer, and 
their charge ended suddenly. They returned the fire; but 
found minie balls too plenty about their ears, and soon dis- 
appeared in the direction from which they came. Next 
morning the brigade, leading the advance of Howe's division, 
came again upon the Confederate cavalry, who retired before 
them. At Buckland's Mills they passed the scene of the run- 
ning cavalry fight of the day before, marked by the bodies of 
several Union cavalrymen lying beside the road, stripped of 
all but their underclothing. The march ended at Warrenton, 

1 Among the captures made by the guerrillas were those of Captain 
Gait, A. Q. M., and Lieutenant E. O. Cole of the Second Vermont, acting 
provost marshal on General Howe's staff. Lieutenant Cole, however, after 
being disarmed, made his escape from his captors. 


where General Meade made his headquarters, and where the 
army remained nearly three weeks, while the railroad was 
being rebuilt, and the army provisioned. "This campaign 
of maneuvres," says Swinton, "added no laurels to either 
army ; yet it was none the less attended with much toil and 
suffering sleepless nights and severe marches, and manifold 
trying exposures. But this is a part of the history of the 
army, of which those who did not bear the heat and burden 
of the day, can never know much." 

During the stay at Warrenton, the brigade was reviewed 
by Colonel Grant, the division by General Howe, and the ' 
corps by General Sedgwick. The weather, which had been 
cold, grew milder in the first week in November, and, as 
usual, by the time the men had built huts and made their 
quarters comfortable, the order: " Eeveille at half past four, 
move at daylight!" came, and the Fifth and Sixth corps, 
under command of General Sedgwick, started, November 
7th, for the Eappahannock, along which lay the army of 
Northern Virginia. It was mainly south of the river, Lee's 
headquarters being at Brandy Station, but he was holding 
also a position on the left bank at Kappahannock Station. 


General Meade now proposed to move the Army of the 
Potomac rapidly to the heights of Fredericksburg ; but his 
project was disapproved by General Halleck, and as the only 
other practicable offensive operation open to him, he decided 
to make a demonstration against Lee, whose men were 
building huts and evidently expecting to go into winter quart- 
ers where they were, and at least force him farther south. 
His plan, which was successfully carried out, was to throw two 
columns across the river. One, of three corps, under General 
French, was to cross at Kelley's Ford; the other of two 
corps, under Sedgwick, was to force the crossing at Kappa- 


hannock Station. The two were then to unite and push on 
to Brandy Station. French accomplished the crossing at 
Kelley's Ford without much difficulty, taking 400 prisoners. 
Sedgwick had a more formidable task at Kappahannock 
Station. At that point, Early's division, so often opposed to 
the Sixth corps; occupied the southern bank, with Hays's 
brigade in the earthworks on the north bank, originally built 
by the Army of the Potomac, which had been reconstructed 
and turned into a strong tete de pont, guarding a ponton 
bridge, by which communication was maintained between 
the opposite banks. A dam below the works made the river 
unfordable. The position was strong naturally, the redoubts 
and rifle pits elaborate and well provided with artillery, 
backed by batteries of heavy guns on the south bank. Hays 
was reinforced, when Sedgwick's advance came in sight, by 
Hoke's brigade. 

Marching from Warrenton in the early morning, the 
Sixth corps deployed in front of and a mile away from the 

Confederate works at Eappahannock Station, at 
Nov. 7, 1863. 

noon. The men stacked arms and sat down to 

eat their dinners, while the enemy's cavalry pickets, within 
pistol shot, looked on, not a shot being fired from either side. 
At one o'clock the corps was formed for the assault ; the first 
division on the left, under General Russell General "Wright 
its commander being in command of the corps, while Sedg- 
wick commanded the wing, consisting of the Fifth and Sixth 
corps. Howe's division was on the right ; the Third division 
General Terry, was in reserve. The first and second divisions 
were each in two lines, and the Vermont brigade had the 
right of the second line, curving round toward the river. A 
portion of the Fifth Yermont was thrown out in front as 
skirmishers. At two o'clock the corps advanced. The Con- 
federate videttes whirled and fled ; the enemy's skirmish line 
was encountered and driven in, and the lines advanced to 
some higher ground in front. Here they came within range 


of the enemy's artillery and were halted while the Union 
batteries came to the front, and for three hours a heavy 
artillery duel was kept up. While this was in progress the 
Yermont brigade lay behind the crest from which the Union 
batteries were firing. The enemy's shot and shell flew 
thickly over their lines, and several casualties occurred, one 
man of the Fourth losing a leg by a shell ; but the men 
were kept close to the ground, and the stretchers were rarely 
called for. The lines of the corps were gradually advanced ; 
but nothing decisive took place till dusk, when six regiments 
of the first division of the Sixth corps, led by General Eussell 
in person, gallantly stormed the works, taking four guns, 103 
commissioned officers, 1,200 enlisted men, 1,225 stand of 
small arms and seven Confederate battle flags. Early lost 
1,700 men killed, wounded and missing, out of 2,000 men of 
Hoke's and Hays's brigades in the works. The loss of Rus- 
sell's division was 336 killed and wounded and two missing^ 
The Sixth Maine suffered especially, losing 16 out of 24 
officers, killed and wounded. 

Howe's division was ready to co-operate ; but was not 
needed, and the men had only to echo the final shout of 
victory, which rang around the lines in the darkness. It was 
something to be present at, and in support of, so brilliant an 

Early burned his end of his bridge that night, and the 
next day Sedgwick threw a ponton bridge across and ad- 
vanced to Brandy Station, Lee retiring beyond the Eapidan. 
This was the seventh time the Yermont brigade had crossed 
the Eappahannock, in advance or in retreat. 

The camp of the Sixth corps at Brandy Station was on 
the land of John Minor Botts, who used to assert that the 
Army of the Potomac burned 600 miles of rails belonging to 
him, in its first week at Brandy Station. It is true that his 
fences and forests disappeared rapidly, but they were not all 
taken by the Union soldiers. It is also true that the chief 


quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac paid him a good 
deal of money for firewood for the army. The soldiers had 
now two weeks or more of comparative quiet, during which 
the Sixth corps was reviewed by General Sedgwick, accom- 
panied by some English officers, and the division was paraded 
to witness the punishment of two deserters by branding. 
But one other movement of any consequence took place 
before the army went into winter quarters. This was the 
short and unsuccessful campaign of Mine Run. 

Mine Eun is a muddy stream running through a deep and 
marshy valley at right angles to the Eapidan, into which it 
empties ten miles south of Brandy Station. The right of 
General Lee's line rested along the left bank of this stream 
and valley, which afforded a good natural protection. This was 
strengthened by a line of intrenchments, extending back 
several miles from the Eapidan. This line was held by Swell's 
corps. Eealizing that the country was impatient of the inac- 
tion of the army, and desiring to strike an effective blow at his 
antagonist before the winter set in, General Meade decided 
to throw his army in three columns across the Eapidan 
below the mouth of Mine Eun, turn the right of E well's 
position, and fall upon him from the rear. The movement 
was to begin at daylight on the 26th, the Third corps, which 
was nearest the river, moving first and the Sixth following. 
The Sixth corps was moving at the hour, but found, on reach- 
ing the camp of the Third corps, that that corps had not 
stirred, most of its men being in fact still asleep in their 
quarters. The troops of the Sixth corps accordingly had to 
stand in the mud for hours, waiting for the Third to get in 
motion and get out of the way. Further delays occurred 
because the two ponton trains each proved to lack a boat of 
enough to span the river, and instead of being at Eobertson's 
Tavern, in the rear of Lee's right, before nightfall, the Third 
corps did not begin to cross the Eapidan till after dark, and 
the Sixth corps did not cross till midnight. The latter corps 


moved on till one o'clock in the morning and then halted for 
the rest of the night. The night was cold, the ground wet, 
and the sleep of the soldiers brief and restless. In three 
hours they were aroused, and the slow and interrupted march 
was again resumed. Soon the scattered shots of skirmishers, 
and an occasional discharge of field artillery, showed that the 
enemy was awake, and the advance resisted. Had, however, 
the commander of the Third corps, General French to whose 
sluggishness and irresolution the failure of the campaign^ 
must be attributed even now showed any enterprise or 
energy, the movement might have been successful. Coming,, 
however, to a fork in the roads, General French halted for 
hours, because he did not know which road to take, though 
had he moved on by either he would have reached Robertson's 
Tavern at eleven o'clock, at which hour the Second corps 
reached that point by a much longer route, and the two 
corps, supported by the Sixth, which crowded on the heels of 
the Third, could at least have cut off and destroyed Swell's 
corps. But French waited till he was confronted by a 
division of Swell's corps, and allowed himself to be held in 
check all the rest of the day by a force not a third as large as 
his own. In the course of the afternoon, he received a per- 
emptory order from General Meade to push on, and prepared 
to force his way ; but was himself attacked while taking posi- 
tion. He repulsed this and a succeeding attack, losing nearly 
1,000 men, and did no more. Howe's division was sent for- 
ward by General Sedgwick to assist French during the latter 
part of the engagement, and was under fire from shells 
coming over the lines fighting in front, but was not engaged. 
That night Lee drew back his outlying forces and con- 
centrated his army behind Mine Run, where he extended and 
strengthened his earthworks, placed abatis of felled pines in 
front, and made his position exceedingly secure. Another 
day Sunday, November 29th a cold and rainy day, was 
consumed by the army of the Potomac in moving up to and 


reconnoitring Lee's position. That night orders were issued 
by General Meade for a general assault the next morning. 
In this, the Sixth corps was to attack from the right, and at 
one o'clock in the morning the corps moved two miles to the 
right and front, under cover of the darkness, to a position 
on the left of Swell's line. The night was stormy and 
bitter cold ; the men were not allowed to light fires, and 
could keep their limbs from stiffening only by leaping and 
constant motion. Howe's division was in the front line, 
with the Second Yermont thrown out as skirmishers, and 
was to lead in the assault. Those who passed the hos- 
pital tents, and saw the operating tables set, water-pails 
filled, and amputating knives ready for the surgeon's grasp, 
understood that bloody business was in hand. All, officers 
and men, knew that the dawn would bring desperate work. 
General Howe thus described the feeling of his troops : 
"We placed the men where we could look right into the 
" enemy's camp, which was but a little distance from us. There 
"seemed to be entire confidence throughout my division, that 
"it was an easy as well as a sure thing to carry the enemy's 
"left. General Neill said : ' I believe I can carry that with 
"my brigade.' Another brigade commander in my division 

* expressed this opinion : ' I believe there is one regiment 
"in the Vermont brigade that can take the key of that posi- 
tion which was an opening that commanded the position.' 
" They were under some excitement, and were pretty sanguine. 

* The men were fired up and all seemed eager for the order to 
" attack." ' Daylight came and hours wore away ; but the 
order to attack did not come. At last, at eight o'clock, 
the artillery opened, the men fell into line and should- 
ered muskets with beating hearts, waiting the word 
forward ! ' when suddenly an aid dashed up to General 

1 Testimony of General Howe before the Committee on the Conduct of 
the War. Vol. I, 1865, p. 435. 


Howe with an order countermanding the attack. The 
morning light had disclosed to General Warren, who 
was to open the assault on the extreme left, a very dif- 
ferent condition of things from that of the evening before. 
Lee had so strengthened his lines during the night, that 
the attempt to storm them had become a forlorn hope. 
Warren saw that his men understood it, as, stern and silent, 
they pinned on their breasts slips of paper on which each had 
written his name, that his grave might not be marked 
"unknown," and he assumed the responsibility of postpon- 
ing the attempt. His judgment that it would be fruitless was 
confirmed by General Meade after a personal view of the 
ground ; and as the carrying of Lee's right was essential to 
the general plan, the attack was everywhere suspended. It 
remained suspended. Nothing could be gained by fresh ma- 
neuvring. The weather had become so severe that some of 
the pickets perished on their posts with cold. The six 
days' rations brought by the men, were about exhausted. 
General Meade abandoned the effort, and during the night of 
December 1st withdrew his army to the north side of the 
Eapidan. The Sixth corps retired by Germanna Ford, leav- 
ing the Third Vermont, Seventy-seventh New York and a 
battery to guard the ford, while the rest of the army con- 
tinued its march to its former camps. The brigades of Howe's 
division halted in the woods, for the night of the 2d, eight or 
ten miles from the Ford, where a wagon train met them with 
bread and fresh meat, which was right grateful to men who 
had been marching for twenty-four hours on coffee. Resum- 
ing their march next morning, they marched past Brandy 
Station and filed into their old camps. The eight days since 
they left them had been among the roughest in their experi- 
ence, and there was little mourning over the end of active 
campaigning for the winter. 

The winter of 1863-4 at Brandy Station, was perhaps 
the most cheerful one passed by the First Yermont brigade. 


The weather was generally fine. The health of the troops 
was good, the sick lists averaging only about seventy to a 
regiment. The men were in huts of poles or slabs, plastered 
with Virginia clay and roofed with canvass. The officers 
had made their quarters not only comfortable but often 
almost luxurious. Many wives of officers graced the camps 
with their presence. The picket duty was light and drills not 
severe. Lyceums and debating societies were organized in 
several of the regiments. Religious services were well attend- 
ed, and a good deal of religious interest prevailed among the 
troops. In December, the question of whether to re-enlist 
or not to re-enlist was presented by the government's offer 
of bounties and furloughs to re-enlisting veterans, and formed 
a steady subject of discussion among the men. The result 
was that one thousand and thirty men of the brigade, who 
had served two years or more, re-enlisted for three years 
more or for the war. No further movement of the Sixth 
corps took place during the winter, with a single exception. 
On the 27th of February, the corps was sent to Madison 
Court House, twenty-three miles to the southwest, to support 
Ouster's cavalry division , which made a demonstration further 
south to Charlottesville. The object of the movement was to 
draw troops away from Richmond, while General Kilpatrick 
made his celebrated raid against the Confederate capital,, 
which would have made him forever famous, if his heart had 
not failed him after he was fairly within the defences of the 
city. 1 The Vermont brigade accompanied the corps on 
this expedition, which occupied five days, and was wholly 
uneventful. The march out was made in two days. A winter 
storm of rain and snow made the mud deep, but the return 
march was made between sunrise and sunset. 

A visit to the camps from Governor Smith, and a brigade 

1 ' ' The only force opposed to General Kilpatrick was 500 men with six 
field guns, and had he made & determined charge he would have taken 
Richmond." General A. A. Humphreys. 


review before Mr. Edmunds, Hon. F. E. Woodbridge, and 
one or two other prominent Vermonters, in a drenching rain, 
were among the incidents of this period. As the winter wore 
on, deserters from Lee's army came in, in increasing numbers, 
with uniform accounts of scanty rations and general destitu- 
tion in the Confederate camps. As the spring opened the 
work of reorganization and preparation, in the Army of the 
Potomac, for one of the mightiest campaigns in human his- 
tory, became active. The antagonist armies which had 
wrestled for nearly three years, were soon to grapple again 
in the bloodiest struggle of the war. Few of the Vermonters 
of the First brigade, however, foreboded that it was to 
bring death or wounds to three out of every five of their 



General U. S. Grant, Commander-in-Chief Consolidation of the Corps 
Getty takes command of the Division Changes in the Brigade 
Review of the Situation Campaign of the Wilderness The Service 
of Getty's Division The part of the Vermont Brigade Terrific Fight- 
ing A thousand Vermonters Killed and Wounded the First Day; 
Two hundred the Second Day Heavy Losses of Officers March to 
Spottsylvania The Vermonters saluted by the Sixth Corps Death of 
General Sedgwick General Wright succeeds Him The Fighting in 
the Lines of Spottsylvania Upton's Charge on the Salient The 
Struggle at the Bloody Angle Losses of the Vermont Regiments The 
Eleventh Regiment joins the Brigade Picket Duty Between the Lines 
Movement to the North Anna March to Cold Harbor. 

General Halleck's meddlesome rule as commander-in- 
chief at last came to an end, and on the 10th of March the 
army was stirred by the arrival at Brandy Station of the new 
commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States, 
Lieut. General Ulysses S. Grant. The troops soon learned 
that he was to take the field in person with the Army of the 
Potomac, and they were not slow to conclude that the change 
"meant business." 

On the 23d of March the Army of the Potomac was 
reorganized, by consolidating the five army corps into three 
a measure previously recommended by General Meade. 
The new corps were the Second, General Hancock; Fifth, 
General Warren, and Sixth, General Sedgwick. The Sixth 
was the old Sixth corps with the addition of Eickett's 
division of the Third corps. The division commanders of the 
corps were General H. G. Wright, General George W. Getty 
and General J. B. Eicketts. 


General Getty, who succeeded General Howe as the 
commander of the second division, 1 was one of the best 
officers in the army. A native of the District of Columbia, 
a graduate of West Point in 1840, brevetted captain of artil- 
lery for gallant conduct at Contreras and Cherubusco in the 
Mexican war, appointed brigadier general of volunteers in 
1862, promoted Lieut. Colonel in the regular army for gallant 
and meritorious service during the siege of Suffolk, Ya., in 
April, 1863, where he commanded a division of the Ninth 
corps ; the husband of a Southern lady, but a true patriot ; a 
thorough soldier, modest, faithful to duty, sharing danger 
with his men ; as cool as he was brave in action, equal to any 
position in which he was placed, he soon won the absolute 
respect and confidence of all under him, and his men came 
to believe, with reason, that they had about the best division 
commander in the army. The brigades of Getty's division, 
were the First, General Frank Wheaton ; Second, General 
L. A. Grant ; Third, General T. O. Neill, and Fourth, General 
H. L. Eustis. 2 These were all uncommonly good brigades, 
and the division, as the event proved, had no superior, as a 
fighting division, in the Army of the Potomac. 

March was a remarkably stormy month. Kain, hail, and 
snow storms followed each other in close succession, and 
swollen streams and bottomless mud forbade active opera- 
tions by either of the armies along the Eapidan. On the 
22d of March, six inches of snow lay on the ground at Brandy 
Station ; and the Second and Sixth Vermont regiments had 
a pitched battle of snow balls. Up to the 7th of April the 

1 General Howe was relieved from the command of the division, March 
3d, 1864, to become chief of artillery for the defences of Washington. 

2 Wheaton' s brigade consisted of the Sixty-second New York, and 
the Ninety-third, Ninety-eighth, One Hundred and Second and One 
Hundred and Thirty-ninth Pennsylvania regiments ; Neill's of the Seventh 
Maine, Forty-third, Forty-ninth, and Seventy-seventh New York and Sixty- 
first Pennsylvania ; and Eustis's of the Seventh, Tenth and Thirty-seventh 
Massachusetts and Second Rhode Island. 


crests of the Blue Eidge were white with snow. Target 
practice and drills filled all the clear days, and court martials 
for the trial of offenders were steadily in progress when 
storms and mud prevented other occupation of the officers. 
As April advanced, however, the weather improved; the 
roads grew hard; and successive orders sending home the 
women in camp, ordering the sutlers to leave, and cutting 
down camp equipage, showed that serious business was 

In the Vermont brigade since the year opened, Colonel 
Walbridge of the Second and Colonel Stoughton of the 
Fourth regiments had resigned, in consequence of disability 
and wounds, and the regiments of the brigade, on the 1st of 
May, were commanded, the Second by Colonel Newton 
Stone, the Third by Colonel T. O. Seaver, Fourth by Colonel 
George P. Foster, Fifth by Lieut. Colonel John E. Lewis, and 
Sixth by Colonel E. L. Barney. The brigade commander, 
General L. A. Grant, had just been commissioned as brigadier 
general of volunteers. The morning reports of May 1st, 
showed 3,308 officers and men present for duty. Of this 
number there were actually in the ranks about 2,850, divided 
as follows: Second regiment, 700; Third, 570; Fourth, 680; 
Fifth, 510; Sixth, 450. The men were in fine condition, 
strong in heart and in body. 

The national exigency at this time was indeed great. The 
purpose of the North had not been weakened by three years 
of war ; but a greatly depreciated currency, the necessity of 
resorting to drafts to fill the army, and other ominous signs, 
impressed on all in civil or military authority the tremendous 
need of Union victories in the field. On the other side the 
Southern conscription was filling the Confederate armies 
more rapidly than the Northern drafts were the armies of the 
Union. The rebel cruisers had driven American commerce 
from the seas; while the blockade runners kept the Con- 
federacy supplied with munitions. The Southern historian 


Pollard, asserts that "it was at no great physical disad- 
vantage that the South, with all her strength brought to the 
surface by conscription and impressment, with all her 
resources employed in the war, re-entered the contest in the 
year 1864." " The resources of the South," he adds, "both in 
men and substance, to prosecute the war, were ample." 
Doubtless these resources had hitherto been used with 
greater unity and efficiency than those of the North. It was 
felt on both sides that the crisis of the war was at hand. 
The South advanced to meet it with more hope, and the 
North with more anxiety, than had prevailed in either section 
since McClellan retreated from Richmond in 1862. 

The two armies were never in such a condition of effi- 
ciency for their bloody work. The Army of the Potomac 
numbered, in round numbers, 100,000 men of all arms ; that 
of Northern Virginia, 75,000. 1 The preponderance of num- 
bers on the Federal side was largely counterbalanced by the 
advantages of position, of better knowledge of the ground, 
and of fighting on the defensive, on the other side. 

Lee's army, like the Army of the Potomac, consisted on 
the 1st of May of three infantry corps, under Longstreet, 
Ewell and A. P. Hill. No official report of its actual strength 
on the 1st of May is known to exist. General Humphreys 
shows that its strength could not have been less than 62,000 
men with 224 guns. General W. H. Taylor, of Lee's staff, 
A. A. G. of the Army of Northern Virginia, gives it a total of 
64,000. General Badeau's detailed estimate, gives it an ag- 
gregate of 75,391 present for duty. 

It was perfectly understood, on each side, that the Army 

1 The morning report of the Army of the Potomac for April 30th, 
showed present for duty, 99,438 men. The three infantry corps aggregated 
73,394 ; Sheridan's cavalry corps, 12,424 ; the artillery, engineers, etc., made 
up the rest. The Ninth corps, General Burnside, 17,000 strong, joined the 
army in the Wilderness. It is to be remembered that the number of men 
actually in the ranks, is always considerably smaller than the number 
reported present for duty." 


of the Potomac would take the initiative. On the 2d of May 
Grant's order for the movement of the army was issued, and 
on that day Lee met his corps and division commanders, at 
the signal station on Clark's Mountain, ten miles south of 
Grant's headquarters, and told them that the Army of the 
Potomac was about to move, and in his opinion would cross 
the Rapidan by the fords below leading into the Wilderness. 

Grant's problem in the movement now on foot, was to 
bridge and cross an unfordable river ; to turn the right of his 
opponent, and to take through a rugged region, covered with 
dwarf pines and scrub oak, and an undergrowth of bristling 
shrubs and tangling vines, threaded by narrow roads with 
which his antagonist was much better acquainted than him- 
self, an army covering eighty miles of highway with its 
100,000 men and 20,000 horses and 320 guns and 4,000 army 
wagons. One day he knew would be his, while his movement 
was unfolding itself. More than that he could not be sure 
of, for he had an opponent who would be likely to allow 
him no advantage that could be prevented by prompt action. 

Lee's problem was a much more simple one. His plan 
naturally would be, and was, to strike the Army of the Poto- 
mac on the march, cut it in two, hold its halves divided and 
entangled in the Wilderness, and to drive what he did not 
destroy and capture back across the Rapidan, as he had 
driven Hooker a year before. The highways of the region 
dictated the course of the movements. Grant must move 
through the Wilderness by roads whose general direction 
was from north to south. Lee must strike him by roads 
crossing these from west to east. 

The movement of the Army of the Potomac began at 
midnight of Tuesday, the 3d of May. That day the cavalry 
moved to Germanna and Ely's Fords, put guards in all the 
occupied houses on the way, to prevent the inhabitants from 
carrying information to the enemy, and guarded the fords,, 
while the engineers laid five bridges across the stream. 


The infantry moved for the most part in two parallel columns. 
The Second corps crossed at Ely's Ford, moved to Chancel- 
lorsville, and halted at noon of the 4th on Hooker's old 
battle-ground. The Fifth corps started at the same time, 
crossed at Gerrnanna Ford, and moved to the Wilderness 
tavern, six miles from the river, where it halted in the after- 
noon. The Sixth corps started at four o'clock for Germanna 
Ford, following the Fifth corps. The men carried fifty rounds 
of cartridges, and six days' rations, three in their haversacks 
and three in their knapsacks. Before they reached the river, 
Lieut. General Grant, with his staff, rode along the column, 
on his way to the ford, and was greeted with cheers by the 
men. They could not forget that two attempts to force a 
passage to Kichmond by the overland route, had failed; but 
they were willing to try again, under Grant. 

The Sixth corps crossed the river in the middle of the 
afternoon, and halted and bivouacked, as ordered, about three 
miles beyond the ford. Nightfall found the mass of the 
troops across the Eapidan though the trains were crossing 
all night. 

The first step of the campaign, and a very important and 
critical one, had thus been accomplished. While it was in 
progress, General Lee, who learned of the movement during 
the morning, was promptly moving his army toward the Army 
of the Potomac. Two of his columns moved by nearly parallel 
roads the old Orange and Fredericksburg turnpike, con- 
structed many years before, and the Orange plank road, built 
by another corporation in the days of the plank road mania, 
between the same places. These roads crossed Grant's line of 
march at right angles, about three miles apart, in the middle 
of the Wilderness. Swell's corps moved by the turnpike, 
and Hill's by the plank road. Longstreet's corps, which 
had been lying at Gordonsville, seven miles south of Lee's 
headquarters at Orange Court House, had farther to march, 
and would reach the field by a lower road, coming in from 


the southwest. Advanced troops of the two armies bivou- 
acked that night about five miles apart. 

In the next two days, Wednesday and Thursday, the 5th 
and 6th of May sad anniversaries in many a Vermont house- 
hold the terrible battle of the Wilderness was fought. 

Of all the battles of the war, perhaps none is more diffi- 
cult to describe in detail. The scrubby and tangled forest 
which shrouded, and still shrouds the field, seemed at the time 
to envelop the battle in mystery. Few of the officers and 
men engaged retained very definite conceptions of either 
time or space. They moved when the lines surged forward 
or back. They made the best fight they could against the seen 
and unseen foes in front and on right and left. But when 
or where or why they moved, or what was the result of their 
fighting, few understood. The battle was characterized by 
unseen movements of troops; terrific volleys of musketry, 
bursting at close range from the thickets ; charges through 
woods so dense that field officers could hardly see the line of 
a company ; sudden appearances and disappearances of bodies 
of troops, through jungles veiled in smoke ; opposing brigades 
and regiments hugging the ground, not daring to rise for 
advance or retreat, yet keeping up incessant fusillades ; lines 
rapidly thinning and ever closing up, while many dead 
dropped unseen in the underbrush, and many wounded men 
crept off alone into the hollows. The ground forbade almost 
all use of artillery ; and preponderance of numbers had no 
moral effect, and was indeed of little actual avail. 1 Through 
the mist and smoke of this battle, however, some brilliant 
lights appear. And among the brightest of these is the 
shining service of Getty's division, and of the Vermont brig- 
ade of that division. Had they failed, or fled, it is hard to 
see how the result could have been less than terrible disaster 
to the army. Let us see if this service can be made clear. 

" So far as I know, no great battle ever took place before on such 
ground." General A. A. Humphreys. 


In the early morning of the 5th, the Union columns were 
again moving to the south. The Fifth corps, Warren's, 
followed by the Sixth, Sedgwick's, formed the 
heavier column, and marched on the right, and so 
nearest the enemy, by the main road leading southeast from 
Germanna Ford, through the Wilderness. On the left the 
Second corps, Hancock's, marched from Chancellorsville, by 
a road intersecting the road from Germanna Ford at Todd's 
Tavern on the farther edge of the Wilderness. Having the 
shorter route of the two, Hancock reached Todd's Tavern 
without opposition. Here he was halted between eight and 
nine o'clock in the morning by an order from General Meade, 
through whom Grant's orders were issued, they having 
become satisfied that Lee was preparing to fight in the 
Wilderness. 1 Shortly before this time Warren had passed 
the intersection of the Orange turnpike with his line of 
march, had sent a division a short distance up the pike to 
guard his flank, and had discovered that the enemy's infantry 
were in force on the pike, two miles from the Wilderness 
Tavern. This infantry was the head of Swell's corps, which 
had advanced to that point and was waiting there till Hill 
should be well advanced on the Orange plank road, when 
both were to attack along the lines of those roads. Hill 
was nearly as far along on the plank road, and the skirm- 
ishers of his advance were even then engaged with a cavalry 
force under Colonel John Hammond, beyond Parker's store, 
three miles from the Wilderness Tavern. The discovery of 
Confederate columns on these two roads revealed the main 
features of Lee's movement and plan of attack ; and the 
two points at which these roads struck the line of march 

1 Early in the morning of the 5th, Generals Meade and Grant, with 
their staffs, after riding five miles from Germanna Ford, halted near an old 
mill in the Wilderness. Aides came with despatches. "They say that Lee 
intends to fight us here," said General Meade, as he read them. "Very 
well," was the quiet reply of Grant. C. C. Coffin. 


of Grant's main column, became at once points of the 
utmost strategic consequence. That line of march was over 
the Germanna Plank Road, as far as the Wilderness Tavern 
and a mile beyond it. From there on, for four miles, it 
was over the Brock Road. 1 This is a curved road, begin- 
ning on the Orange Turnpike, crossing the Germanna 
Road, a mile and a half southeast of the Wilderness 
Tavern; next crossing the Orange Plank Road at right 
angles ; and running thence southeast to Todd's Tavern, 
on the road to Spottsylvania. The two most important 
points to be held, therefore, for the Union army, were these 
junctions, of the turnpike with the Germanna Road, and of 
the Orange Plank Road with the Brock Road. Of the two 
the latter was the more important, because upon it Lee was 
likely to throw, and did throw, his heaviest columns, and 
because the possession of it by Lee, would be to place two- 
thirds of the army of Northern Virginia between the two 
wings of the Army of the Potomac; to cut off the Second 
corps ; to hold the Fifth and Sixth corps entangled in the 
Wilderness ; and perhaps to wreck Grant's campaign at its 
very outset. The importance of this point is of course 
generally recognized by historians of this battle. Swinton 
says of it: "Four miles east of Parker's store the plank 
" road is intersected by the Brock Road, which runs south- 
" ward to Spottsylvania Court House, and on which Hancock 
"was moving up to join the main body of the army. It is 
" obvious, therefore, that this junction of roads was a strategic 
"point of the first importance, and if Hill should be able to 
tf seize it, he would interpose effectually between the two 
" Union columns." General Badeau, whose relations to Lieut. 
General Grant were such that his description of the campaign 
may be considered to be almost equivalent to a description 
by General Grant, says: "The Brock road is the key of all 

1 Or Brock's Road. 


''this region. * * * Cutting these transverse roads at 
"right angles, it enabled whichever army held it to outflank 
"the other, and was of course of immense importance to both 
"commanders." General Humphreys, in his elaborate des- 
cription of this battle, does not in terms designate any one 
point as of more importance than another ; but his narrative 
fully shows the supreme importance of this point. 

The selection of the force which was to hold this point 
could not have been a matter of chance, which so often, in 
great battles, determines the presence of one rather than 
another body of troops, at critical points. As soon as Lee's 
purpose became evident, General Meade, by Lieut. General 
Grant's direction, ordered that General Getty, with his divi- 
sion of the Sixth corps, or the larger part of it, be sent to the 
junction of the Brock and Plank roads, with instructions to 
"hold that point at all hazards, until relieved." At the same 
time he sent an order to General Hancock at Todd's Tavern, 
to move his corps up the Brock road, and to connect with 
the force holding the junction of that road with the plank 
road, and be prepared to support an attack out on the latter 

As the Sixth corps was behind the Fifth corps in the 
order of march, and the latter was thus the nearest to the 
junction of the Orange plank and Brock roads, the natural 
movement would have been to send a division of the Fifth 
corps to that point, and to supply its place on the turnpike 
by bringing forward a portion of the Sixth corps. But that 
was not what was done. And while no implication is here 
intended that there were not in the Fifth corps troops 
worthy to be entrusted with almost any duty, it cannot be 
doubted that the detaching of Getty and his division for 
this special service was due to the fact that it would not do 
to make any mistake in the selection of the officer and troops 
sent to this key-point. Grant and Meade knew that it would 
be hours before Hancock ccruld get his corps into position to 


protect that point ; and that "Warren was likely to have heavy 
fighting to do on the turnpike and would need all his men. 
They selected a division that could be relied on to reach the 
plank road promptly, and to hold it till the gaps between the 
wings of the army could be closed. So Getty's division was 
detached for the purpose ; and there is some reason to sup- 
pose that the selection made was to some extent due to the 
fact that the Vermont brigade was part of that division. 1 
Getty took with him his first, second and fourth brigades, 
leaving the third with the Sixth corps. How he and they 
discharged the trust reposed on them will be seen. 

The battle opened in earnest about noon, on Warren's 
front. He drove Swell's advance back for a mile, but was 
in turn driven back, and, though supported by a portion of 
the Sixth corps, had all and sometimes more than he could 
do to hold his own the dense second-growth of timber 
greatly impeding his movements, and preventing effective 
massing of his men. He lost during the day some ground, 
two guns and over three thousand men, killed, wounded and 
captured ; but at nightfall still held his main position across 
the turnpike and in front of the Wilderness Tavern. 

Getty reached the junction of the Brock and Orange 
plank road's shortly before noon, and none too soon ; for the 
advance of Heth's division (of Hill's corps) was pushing for 
the same point, and driving in Colonel Hammond, who with 
the Fifth New York cavalry, was falling back before the 
enemy's infantry, not over half a mile away from the Brock 
road. Getty at once sent forward a line of skirmishers, who 
relieved the cavalry, and drove back the enemy's skirmishers 
for some distance. The Yermont brigade was then advanced, 
passing the First brigade, (Wheaton's, which had led the 

1 Surgeon S. J. Allen, of the Fourth Vermont, who was medical direc- 
tor on General Getty's staff, and with him when he received this order, 
says that it was accompanied by a special direction that he should take 
the Vermont brigade, with two other brigades of his division. 


column to this point,) and was posted in front of the cross- 
roads, on the left of the Orange plank road, in two lines. The 
Fourth and Third regiments were in front with two companies 
of the Fifth thrown out as skirmishers, under Captain Orms- 
bee, and the Second, Sixth and Fifth were the second line. 1 
Wheaton's brigade was formed in like manner on the right of 
the plank road, with a section of artillery in the road, between 
the two brigades ; 3 and the line was extended into the woods 
to the right, by Eustis's brigade. The Vermont regiments, by 
order of their commander, piled a partial cover of rails and 
logs, which proved of good service later in the day. General 
Getty held this position for some three hours, against a pres- 
sure of the enemy which hour by hour grew more threatening. 
About three o'clock the first indications that he was to be 
supported appeared in the sound and sight of the head of 
Hancock's column, coming up the Brock road. General Grant, 
whose headquarters were on a knoll by the Wilderness Tavern, 
had become impatient to strike Hill before he should become 
more strongly concentrated on the plank road, and had sent 
an order to Hancock to unite with Getty, and drive the enemy 
back to or beyond Parker's store. This order General Han- 
cock found it impossible to obey promptly. His artillery, 
filling the Brock road, which was narrow and densely wooded 
on each side, greatly retarded the advance of his infantry; 
and the formation of the troops as they came up, was imped- 
ed by the woods and underbrush. He rode forward in person, 
to confer with Getty, learned from him that he (Getty) had 
two Confederate divisions in his front, and was expecting 
momentarily an attack in force, assured him of support at 
the earliest possible moment, and directed General Birney, 
commanding the advance of the Second corps, to form his 
division, as fast as it arrived, on Getty's left. Before Birney, 

1 The regiments were placed in the order named from right to left. 

2 Part of Rickett's battery, F., First Pennsylvania Light Artillery. 


however, got into position, Getty received an order from 
General Meade to attack without waiting longer for Hancock ; 
and he at once moved forward to the assault. The force in 
front of him was Heth's division, with Wilcox's division on 
Heth's left. Generals Lee and A. P. Hill were both with 
Heth's division, and Lee, it is fair to presume, gave his per- 
sonal attention to the movements of Hill's corps. The latter's 
front line ran along a ridge, so screened by the trees and 
undergrowth that neither the nature of the ground nor the 
position of his line could be determined twenty yards away. 
The first of Getty 2 s troops to become engaged were the Ver- 
monters. They had moved forward scarce three hundred 
yards, when they were received by a tremendous volley, 
bursting from the thickets but a few yards in front. They 
halted, returned the fire, and then dropped down, to get 
cover from the hail-storm of bullets. The enemy did the 
same. Again the lines were ordered to advance ; but when 
the men rose, so many were at once shot down that it became 
plain that to advance was simply destruction. The men 
dropped again. They could not advance, but there was no 
thought of retreat. The second line closed up on the first, 
the Second regiment creeping forward through the bushes to 
a position nearly on a line with the Fourth, and both regi- 
ments kept up a destructive fire, under which the enemy was 
as powerless to advance as they. The Third regiment, bear- 
ing to the left, pushed forward beyond its line of skir- 
mishers, and became engaged in much the same manner. 
The Sixth regiment moved up to the support of the Third 
and the Fifth took position still farther to the left. The 
other brigades of the division became also sharply engaged ; 
but their lines were not as close to the enemy as those of the 
"Vermont brigade, and the fighting along them was far less 
bloody. In the Yermont regiments the carnage was fearful. 
The loss of field and line officers who were on their feet 
and moving along the lines, while the men hugged the ground, 


was especially severe. Colonel Stone, the gallant young 
colonel of the Second, fell with a ball through his thigh ; 
retired to have his wound dressed, and returned to his post, 
soon to drop dead, shot through the head. Lieut. Colonel 
Tyler too!;: his place, till, an hour later, he too fell, with a 
mortal wound, leaving the regiment without any field officer. 
Colonel Foster of the Fourth received a ball in the thigh and 
had to yield the command to Major Pratt. Lieut. Colonel 
Lewis, commanding the Fifth, fell with a shattered arm, and 
Major Dudley stepped into his place. Colonel Barney, of the 
Sixth, received a mortal wound in the temple, and was suc- 
ceeded in the command of his regiment by Lieut. Colonel 
Hale. Of the company officers, one after another fell not to 
rise again, or were borne bleeding to the rear. The men's 
faces grew powder-grimed, and their mouths black from biting 
cartridges. The musketry silenced all other sounds ; and the 
air in the woods was hot and heavy with sulphurous vapor. 
The tops of the bushes were cut away by the leaden showers 
which swept through them; and when the smoke lifted occa- 
sional glimpses could be got of gray forms crouching under 
the battle-cloud which hung low upon the slope in front. For 
two hours this went on, and the ammunition of the men was 
nearly exhausted, when General Birney, having got into posi- 
tion, sent a brigade (Owen's) to the support of the Vermont 
regiments. By this time, also, the other divisions of Han- 
cock's corps arrived within supporting distance, and were 
posted along the Brock road. As the position was thus made 
strong, it was no longer necessary that Getty's front line 
should hold its advanced position. General L. A. Grant was 
directed to withdraw his brigade ; but how to withdraw it, in 
the face of the increasing force with which it was in such 
close contact, was a problem. Discovering a place in front 
of the Fifth Yermont, where the enemy's line seemed to be a 
little thinner than elsewhere, Grant proposed to Major 
Dudley to attempt to break through the enemy's line at that 


point, with the support of two of Birney's regiments just 
posted in his rear, hoping thus to secure relief from the 
pressure on the rest of his line. Dudley was willing to try, 
and at the word of command the Fifth rose, and charged the 
ridge with a cheer. The enemy's line in front partially gave 
way; but the supporting troops got enough of it after a 
short advance, and halted and lay down ; and Dudley, find- 
ing his regiment alone, and suffering from a severe fire opened 
on its left flank, relinquished the endeavor, and ordered his 
regiment down. This attempt at a diversion having failed, 
and the ammunition of the regiments being exhausted, the 
only available course was to beat a square retreat to the lines 
behind them. This was successfully accomplished. The 
enemy pressed close on the retiring line of the Second and 
Fourth regiments, and occupied for a short time the ground, 
strewn with their dead, on which they had fought. Lieut. 
French of General Grant's staff, who had been sent by him 
to order back the Fifth, had his horse shot and was captured 
while on his way with the order. But Dudley, finding him- 
self flanked and in danger of capture, had meantime wisely 
withdrawn his regiment ; and the brigade, as the shades of 
night fell on the field, resumed, with sadly thinned ranks, 
its former position on the Brock road. Heth also with- 
drew after nightfall to his former position. " The battle con- 
tinued," says General Humphreys, "with great severity until 
near eight o'clock, when darkness and the dense forest put 
an end to it, fortunately for Hill, whose troops were shattered 
and his lines disjointed. An hour more of daylight, and he 
would have been driven from the field." 

General Lee, in a despatch to the Confederate secretary 
of war that evening, briefly described as follows the events 
of the day: "Swell's and Hill's corps arrived this morning 
in close proximity to the enemy's line of march. A strong 
attack was made upon Ewell who repulsed it, capturing many 
prisoners and four pieces of artillery. The enemy subse- 


quently concentrated upon General Hill, who with his and 
Wilcox's divisions successfully resisted repeated and desper- 
ate assaults." General Lee was on the field in person in front 
of Getty, and if he called the fighting there "desperate," 
there can be no doubt that it was so. In fact, the vigor ol 
Getty's attack was such that the opposing generals were per- 
suaded that it was made by a very much greater force than 
one division; and it has been stated by Confederate his- 
torians that Heth's and Wilcox's divisions of Hill's corps, 
numbering 15,000 men, resisted that day five Federal 
divisions of Hancock's and Sedgwick's corps, numbering 
45,000! But the facts are that the assault was opened and 
sustained for hours by Getty alone, with 7,000 men, being 
three-fourths of his division. Other troops of the Second 
corps supported Getty at a later stage of the battle ; but the 
entire loss of the Second corps on the 5th of May was not 
equal to that of the Vermont brigade in killed and wounded 
a fact which indicates distinctly what troops did the fighting- 
General Getty well knew that he had two men in front 
of him for every one of his own; but he knew the im- 
portance of the duty assigned to him. The situation required 
desperate effort; for if Hill had succeeded in reaching the 
Brock road, it is hard to see how he could have been dis- 
lodged. It would then have been an easy matter for him to 
hold back Hancock who as it was did not get into 
position till after four o'clock p. M. with one of his divisions, 
while Wilcox pushed in on Warren's left flank with the 
other. The consequences can be imagined. Elsewhere, 
Hancock's lines gave way for a time, and General Alexander 
Hays, of Birney's division, was killed in attempting to restore 
a break; but Getty's front was firmly held from first to 
last against the utmost efforts of the enemy, till the junc- 
tion of the Orange Plank Road with the Brock Road 
was made secure. It is no disparagement of the other gal- 
lant brigades of Getty's division, which fought well and 


suffered severely, to say that the brunt of the fighting of the 
division fell to the lot of the Vermont brigade. It was a 
year and a day from the time when their steadiness in the 
face of heavy odds saved the Sixth corps at Banks's Ford. 
The same qualities had enabled them to render even greater 
service this day. But it was accomplished at terrible cost. 
Of five colonels of the brigade but one was left unhurt. 
Fifty of its best line officers had been killed or wounded. 
A thousand Vermont soldiers fell that afternoon. 

The fighting along and near the Plank road ended 
about eight o'clock; but elsewhere, and especially in front 
of the Sixth corps, there was skirmishing on into the night ; 
and till two o'clock in the morning occasional volleys lit 
up the dark woods with flame. Along the fronts of the 
opposing lines strong picket guards faced each other with 
exhausting watchfulness. Behind them the burial parties 
and stretcher-bearers sought through the thickets for the 
killed and wounded, at the risk of their own lives, for the 
enemy's pickets fired at every light or sound. In the debata- 
ble ground between them lay hundreds of dead and dying, 
whom neither army could remove. The men in the lines of 
battle lay on their arms behind their low breastworks, and 
got but brief and fitful rest. No decisive advantage had 
been secured on either side in this day's fight. Each com- 
mander decided to renew the contest at daylight the next 
morning, and hunied forward reinforcements. All night long 
Longstreet was hurrying up from Gordonsville, with his 
corps, to the help of Hill; and Burnside with the Ninth corps 
was on the way, and marching hard, from the line of the 
Orange & Alexandria road, to strengthen the Army of the 
Potomac. But as yet there was a wide gap between Han- 
cock's right and Warren's left, and a gap perhaps nearly as 
wide between Hill and Ewell. Spades were brought into 
use, and intrenchments thrown up, on each side. Behind 
the front lines of each army staff officers were hurrying 


hither and yon, and troops marching to and fro through the 
woods, under the starlight for hours before daylight. 

Grant's orders to Hancock, Warren and Sedgwick were 
to attack at five o'clock. Lee commenced his attack fifteen 
minutes earlier. The fighting soon became heavy all along 
the lines. Ewell held his ground stubbornly behind his. 
intrenchments ; but Hill soon found himself in serious trouble. 
Getty had remained to aid the Second corps in a direct 
assault, while Crawford's division of the Fifth corps, which had 
got into position the evening before too late to take part in the 
fighting, was to strike Hill's exposed left flank. These move- 
ments were successfully executed. Birney's division advanced 
in two lines, followed by Getty's. In this movement the 
Vermont brigade moved straight out along the Plank road, 
with two regiments on the right and three on the left of the 
road. Hill made a stout resistance ; but could not stem the 
combined assault on his front and flank, and after a half 
hour's severe fighting his lines broke, and he was driven back 
in great confusion through the woods, for more than a mile. 
In this advance, the crowding in of Crawford's troops on the 
right occasioned a general obliquing of the attacking lines 
to the left, bringing the Vermont brigade all on the south 
side of the Plank road. The lines moved forward till Lee's 
headquarters and the Confederate trains and artillery were 
in sight, not far in front. Hill's corps was tremendously 
shattered. It looked much like a Union victory in that part 
of the field. At this juncture Longstreet arrived with two 
fresh divisions, and formed them hastily, placing Kershaw's 
division on the south of the Plank road and Field's on the 
north. Their lines opened to let through the disorganized 
masses of Heth's and Wilcox's divisions, and then closing, 
offered a firm front to their opponents ; and Hancock, whose 
lines had become much disordered in the ardor of the advance 
through forest, swamp and thicket, called a general halt in 
order to re-form his lines. 


Several hours now passed, during which the commanders 
on each side were bringing up troops and adjusting their 
formations. On the Confederate side the routed troops of 
Heth and Wilcox were rallied and brought again to the front ; 
and the arrival of Anderson's division, of Hill's corps, which 
had not been as yet engaged, enabled Lee to extend the lines 
of that corps till his right wing connected with Ewcll. 

On the other side a single division of Burnside's corps 
had arrived at the Wilderness Tavern and had been sent to 
support Hancock. But there was long and impatient waiting 
for the rest of Burnside's command to come and fill the gap 
between Hancock and Warren. The ground was so broken, 
the woods so dense, the movements of the troops, which were 
constantly mistaking friends for foes and halting and losing 
direction, were so interrupted and slow, that the further 
advance of Hancock, who waited for Burnside to get into 
position on his right before again assaulting, was delayed till 
Longstreet took the offensive. He had been able to extend 
his right, and to form a flanking force of four brigades, which, 
concealed by the woods, moved down around Birney's left 
and struck him on the flank and rear. " We thought," said 
General Longstreet, describing this portion of the battle to 
Mr. Swinton after the close of the war, " that we had another 
Bull Bun on you ; for I had made my dispositions to seize 
the Brock road." But the Brock road was not seized by 
General Longstreet that day. Getty's division reduced at 
this time to two brigades by the departure of Eustis's brigade, 
which had been sent to the extreme left of Hancock's line 
was still holding the rear line between Longstreet and 
the cross roads. What took place there cannot be better 
described than in the words of General L. A. Grant's report : 
"The tide of battle had turned. The front line was broken, 
and men came disorganized to the rear. The brigade, at the 
time, happened to occupy a slightly elevated or rolling ground, 
where the enemy had, for his own use, thrown together two 


irregular lines of old logs and decayed timber. The Vermont 
regiments took position behind these lines of logs and rubbish 
and awaited the progress of the battle. In less than half an 
hour the four lines in our front were swept away, and heavy 
lines of the advancing enemy came upon us with great force. 
They were received with a bold front and galling fire, and 
their advance was completely checked and thrown back in 
confusion. Still determined, the enemy reformed his lines, 
and again advanced to the attack and again went back. The 
attack was many times repeated, and as many times repulsed. 
The repulse, however, was complete only in front of this 
brigade. Every time the enemy made an attack, he made a 
substantial advance upon both our right and left, and the 
Union troops gradually gave way, especially upon the right. 
Bullets came from the right across the plank road. Major 
Pratt promptly faced the Fourth regiment to the right, and 
opened fire across the road. The state of affairs in that 
direction becoming critical, it was represented to the division 
commander, who placed another brigade under my command. 
That brigade was immediately placed on the right of this, 
partially facing the plank road, so as to protect our right and 
rear, should the enemy gain further advantage in that direc- 

Perhaps the valor of Vermont troops and the steadiness 
and unbroken front of these noble regiments, were never 
more signally displayed. They stood out in the very midst 
of the enemy, unyieldingly dealing death and slaughter in 
front and flank. Only the day before, one-third of their 
number and many of their beloved leaders had fallen ; but 
not disheartened, the brave men living seemed determined to 
avenge the fallen; and most effectually they did it. For 
more than three hours did the brigade hold this advanced 
position, repelling every attack. Foiled in every attempt at 
this point, the enemy massed forces about one-fourth of a 


mile to our left, and made a vigorous attack. 1 Our lines, at 
that point, suddenly gave way and came in confusion past 
our rear. I immediately ordered two regiments to face to 
the left, but before the order could be executed, the enemy 
rushed through the breach and opened fire into our rear, 
and at the same time made another attack in front. Perceiv- 
ing that it was worse than useless to attempt further resist- 
ance there, I ordered the regiments to rally behind the 
breastworks on the Brock road, at which point we had been 
ordered to rally in case of disaster. Our entire lines, at this 
part of the army, went back in disorder. All organizations 
and control seemed to have been lost. But out of that 
disorder the Vermont brigade quietly and deliberately took 
its position in the front works on the Brock road, and awaited 
the enemy's advance. Other troops were rallied and placed 
on the right and left and rear, though thousands went be- 
yond reach or immediate control. The lines of the left of the 
Second corps were unbroken, and now took position on the 
Brock road. Other troops came up from the right, and our 
position was made strong again, and here we awaited the 
enemy's attack. It came late in the afternoon ; a vigorous, 
determined and desperate attack. The heaviest part fell 
upon the troops on our immediate left, but a portion of it fell 
upon this brigade, and was handsomely repulsed." 

1 General Longstreet had been seriously wounded, by a volley from hia 
own men, and Lee took command in person. At one time, Confederate 
historians say, he proposed to head a charge ; but the men, anxious for his 
safety, refused to go forward till he had gone to the rear ; and he finally 
yielded to their protest. The abandonment of the advanced line of breast 
works by a portion of the Second corps, was in part owing to the woods' 
catching fire. Many wounded men, it has been stated, were burned alive ; 
'but it is not known that this fate befell any of the Vermonters. The 
fighting went on, however, till at last the flames caught the breastworks of 
logs which sheltered portions of Mott's and Birney's divisions; and they 
were driven from behind them by the heat and smoke. The Confederates 
pushed in to the break thus made ; but were again forced back by Carroll'* 
brigade of Gibbon's division of the Second corps. 


Vermont troops of other organizations and of all arms, 
infantry, cavalry, artillery and sharpshooters, fought in other 
parts of the field, and rendered service which will be de- 
scribed in subsequent pages. 1 

We have seen that it twice fell to the First Yermont 
brigade to take a most important part at a most important 
point. It held its position there to the end. The other 
brigades of Getty's division returned during the night of the 
5th to the Sixth corps ; but General Hancock was unwilling 
to spare the Vermont brigade ; and it remained upon or near 
the Brock road during the next day and till the army resumed 
its movement toward Richmond, during the night of the 7th- 

General Getty was seriously wounded on Friday ; but 
declined to leave the field. The value of the service rendered 
by his division, in this battle, can scarcely be exaggerated. It 
has been overlooked in some accounts of the battle, owing to 
the fact that the division was detached from the Sixth and 
fought with the Second corps, to which corps its work has 
been credited. But that the service which it rendered was 
appreciated at the headquarters of the army, may be inferred 
from General Badeau's remark that "Getty with a single 
division first reached the critical point and held it afterwards 
in the presence of double his own force, although Lee in per- 
son was in front." a 

Dear as was the cost of their part of this service to the 
Vermont troops, there is good reason to believe that they 
inflicted much greater loss on the enemy than they receiv- 
ed. The losses of the Confederate divisions opposed to 

1 The Tenth Vermont was in the Third division of the Sixth corps ; 
the Seventeenth Vermont and Third Vermont battery with the Ninth 
corps ; the First Vermont cavalry with Sheridan ; and three Vermont com- 
panies of sharpshooters with the Second corps. The Seventeenth Ver- 
mont lost 80 men in this battle. 

3 Military history of U. S. Grant. Vol. II. p. 113. 



Getty's are to some extent matters of conjecture, in the 
absence of official reports of casualties on the rebel side in 
this battle an absence indicative of heavier losses than the 
Confederate generals were willing to acknowledge. There 
are, however, some significant matters of record bearing on 
the subject. Thus the morning report of Lee's army for the 
20th of April the latest report on file preceding the Wilder- 
ness campaign gives Hill's corps 20,648 enlisted men, 
present for duty. On the 8th of May, General Early took 
command of the corps, General Hill being sick, and he says> 
in his memoir, that the corps that morning "numbered about 
13,000 muskets for duty." That is to say the corps had lost 
about eight thousand enlisted men saying nothing of officers 
in the two weeks during which this battle was fought 
and in which it had done no other fighting. As the losses 
in Field's division of Longstreet's corps, are described as 
"very heavy," Lee must have lost nearly ten thousand 
men in front of Hancock and Getty; and both General 
Longstreet and General Wilcox have been quoted as ac- 
knowledging that the repulse of Wilcox's and Heth's divisions 
was chiefly the work of Getty's division. The tables of 
casualties on the Union side furnish significant indications as 
to what troops stood the strain and did the fighting of that 
division. The killed and wounded of the Vermont brigade 
numbered 1,200. The killed and wounded of the Army of 
the Potomac numbered 12,485.' That is to say, the Ver- 
mont brigade, being one of thirty-two infantry brigades 
engaged, suffered one-tenth of the entire loss of Grant's army 
in killed and wounded in the Wilderness ! The following 

1 The entire Union loss, as stated by General Humphreys, was killed, 
2,265; wounded, 10,220; missing, 2,902; total, 15,387. The losses of the 
Army of Northern Virginia, as stated in the "Medical and Surgical His- 
tory of the War," were 2,000 killed, 6,000 wounded, and 3,400 missing ; 
total, 11,400. 


table shows a remarkably even distribution of casualties 
among the regiments : 


Killed. Wounded. Missing. Died of wounds. Total. 

Brigade Staff, 11 2 

Second Vermont, 48 220 29 32 297 

Third " 40 184 15 25 239 

Fourth " 34 194 22 45 250 

Fifth " 34 179 17 23 230 

Sixth, " 35 169 12 26 216 

191 947 96 151 1234 

Of the missing, five were never accounted for; two 
deserted. Most of the rest were wounded men, who fell into 
the hands of the enemy, only a few unwounded Yermonters 
being captured. 1 The loss of officers was especially severe, 
amounting in killed and wounded to three-fourths of all 
present for duty a fearful percentage. The brigade had no 
less than twenty-one officers killed and mortally wounded, 3 
being more than the number of officers killed in all the rest 
of the Sixth corps put together. Among them were some of 
the best soldiers in the brigade, and Surgeon Stevens of the 
Seventy-seventh New York thus expresses the deep feeling 
aroused in Getty's division by the deaths of so many valued 
officers : " The Yermont brigade lost many of its brightest 
" ornaments. Colonel Barney of the Sixth was one of Yer- 
" mont's best men, a kind yet faithful commander in camp, 

1 Several Vermont soldiers were injured during the first day by the fire 
from the section of Ricketts's battery behind them, the lines being so near 
together that shells intended for the enemy exploded over the lines of the 
Vermont regiments. Among these was Sergeant H. E. Taylor, Company 
F., Fourth Vermont, who was struck in the small of the back by a piece of 
a shell, which passed through to the other side of the spine, where it re- 
mained for four months, before it was extracted. Since the death of Presi- 
dent Garfield from an almost precisely similar wound, the case of Sergeant 
Taylor, who is still living, has been cited as a very rare one of recovery 
from such an injury. 

2 Including all who died of their wounds. 


"gallant and fearless on the field, the highest type of a man 
" a Christian gentleman. Colonel Stone was killed in- 
" stantly on the 5th ; his urbane manners were remembered 
"by all who frequented our division headquarters, and his 
"bravery had endeared him to his men. Colonel Tyler, too, 
"of the Second, was among the mortally wounded, and all 
"felt his loss deeply. Captains Bixby of the Second, Bart- 
"lett and Buck of the Third, Carpenter, Fair and Lillie of 
"the Fourth, Ormsbee and Hurlbut of the Fifth, and Bird 
"and Randall of the Sixth, all men of bravery and patriot- 
" ism, all beloved as companions and valued as officers, were 
"among the dead or dying. But among Vermont's fallen 
"sons was no more ardent patriot or gallant soldier than 
"Captain George D. Davenport of the Fifth. His manly 
"bearing, brilliant intellect, ready wit, his social virtues and 
"well-known bravery, combined to render him a favorite 
" officer. These are a few among the many names of fallen 
"heroes. Never were grander men sacrificed for a nobler 
"cause." * General L. A. Grant said of the same : "It is no 
disparagement to those who survive, to say that the places of 
these captains cannot be filled." Nineteen line officers were 
killed, thirty-one wounded, and two taken prisoners. Hardly 
a company in the line escaped without the loss of one or 
more commissioned officers, and many companies were left 
under the command of sergeants by the loss of all their 
officers. At the close of the battle the Fourth regiment had 
but three line officers present for duty, and the Fifth but 
five several in each regiment being on the sick list. 

It is needless to say that the night of May 6th fell on 
many heavy hearts in the Vermont regiments. Their lines 
had closed up over the vacant places of nearly half of their 
number ; but they allowed themselves to give way to no sink- 
ing of heart ; for they still held an important position, and 

1 Three Years in the Sixth corps, p. 320. 


meant to hold it, whatever further tribute of endurance and 
bloodshed the morrow might exact. But that night Lee 
retired within his intrenched lines. This fact was disclosed 
by a line of skirmishers sent out by General L. A. Grant } 
under Major Crandall of the Sixth Vermont, in the morning. 
These moved out over the field, thickly strewn with corpses 
clad in gray and blue ; discovered that the enemy's front had 
been withdrawn for some distance ; found a large number of 
muskets, which the enemy had collected on the field but had 
had no opportunity to remove, and guarded them till wagons 
were sent out by General Birney and brought them in ; but, 
wdtli the exception of a few Confederate pickets who retired 
rapidly, they found no hostile force on the ground where 
Lee's lines lay the day before. Lieut. General Grant 
acknowledged that the fighting of those two days was the 
hardest he had ever known ; and as he did not propose to 
attack Lee behind his works, the battle of the Wilderness 
ended there. It was a drawn battle, in that neither army 
occupied the ground fought over. Yet as Lee had been 
foiled in the main purpose for which he brought on the 
general action, and as his loss was comparatively, though 
not actually, greater than Grant's, for him it was to all 
intents and purposes a lost battle. And the Army of 
Northern Virginia never after fought an offensive battle. 

During the afternoon of the 7th, the Vermont brigade 
rejoined the Sixth corps on the extreme right; and that 
night the Army of the Potomac moved on to the south, by 
the flank, through the dark woods, leaving in the field 
hospitals several hundred wounded men, for whom places 
could not be found in the trains of ambulances and army 
wagons, many miles long, filled with groaning sufferers* 
which had started during the day for Fredericksburg. 1 

1 Surgeon Phillips of the Sixth Vermont, and Asst. Surgeon Thompson 
of the Seventy-seventh New York, were placed in charge of the wounded 
men of Getty's division so left. They remained with them for several weeks, 



In the more open country around Spottsylvania Court 
House, fifteen miles south of the Wilderness Tavern, Grant 
hoped to find room to use his superior numbers to better 
purpose, and to secure a position which should give him a 
firmer foothold for his army in its overland campaign. He 
expected to occupy this without serious opposition. But his 
antagonist, partly by accident, one of his divisions having 
moved thither in advance of orders, got there and took 
position before him, and was not dislodged by twelve days 
of constant effort and bloody fighting. 

The army of the Potomac started for Spottsylvania in 
the evening of the 7th. The Sixth corps marched by the 
way of Chancellorsville, the Yermont brigade bringing up 
and guarding the rear of the corps. The trains and artillery 
filled the roads, and the men were on their feet all night. At 
Chancellorsville the brigade was detached from the corps, to 
guard the trains, while the rest of the corps pushed forward. 
The regiments had halted for dinner, at a spot about four 
miles from Spottsylvania, between four and five p. M., when 
an order came to General L. A. Grant directing him to hurry 
his brigade forward to join the corps, which was to support a 
demonstration then in progress. The situation in front was 
this : Warren's corps, the Fifth, had been sent to Spottsyl- 
vania by a night march over the Brock road and the most 
direct route, to seize the position there ; but its progress had 
been impeded by Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry and by barricades of 
trees felled across the road, and the head of the column was 
still two miles from the Court House, when, at nine o'clock 
the next morning, a strong force of the enemy's infantry was 

till most of their patients had been removed to Richmond, and till they 
learned that all of the rest were to be taken thither at once. They then 
made their escape, pushed to the north, travelling by night and hiding by 
day, and finally reached Washington in safety. 


found blocking the way. By noon Warren had developed 
the fact that he was opposed by a division of cavalry and two 
divisions of infantry. Reporting this to General Meade, the 
latter ordered Sedgwick to hasten forward and join Warren 
in an immediate and vigorous attack, which it was confi- 
dently expected would secure the position at the Court 
House. It was so late in the day, however, before the dis- 
positions were made, and the men were so exhausted by the 
march and heat, that, though some severe fighting was done 
by Warren, no general assault took place. The Vermont 
brigade made a forced march to the scene of action and 
joined the right of the Sixth corps just before dark. It was 
then directed to move to the extreme left of the corps. Its 
movement thither was the occasion of a somewhat noticeable 
demonstration. The troops of the Sixth corps were standing 
to their arms and expecting momentarily to move into action. 
They could hardly be expected under the circumstances to 
expend much breath in compliments. But the fighting of 
the Yermonters on the Orange Plank road had been for two 
days the talk of the corps; and now as the brigade, reduced 
to half its former size, began to move along the line, the men 
nearest to it broke out into spontaneous and hearty hurrahs 
for the Green Mountain boys. The greeting was taken up 
by regiment after regiment and brigade after brigade in the 
line, as the Vermont brigade moved past them, and its march 
to the left was made under a continuous round of cheers. Its 
officers and men were sober from their losses, exhausted by 
four days of fighting, marching and want of sleep, and blown 
by double-quicking ; but the welcome of their comrades put 
fresh heart into them, and they would have added fresh 
laurels to those of the corps, if they had gone into action 
that night. As they moved on, however, General Grant was 
met by General Meade, who informed him that the intended 
attack had been suspended for the night, adding some words 
of high compliment to the brigade for its recent work and 


prompt arrival at this time. The brigade was then conducted 
by a staff officer, in the dusk of the evening, through a ravine 
and up a wooded hill to a position on the enemy's flank. 
Here, as darkness fell, Brig. General Grant discovered that 
his command was in front of the general line of the army, 
and in advance even of any skirmish line. He knew not 
where the enemy was, whether near or far. Scattering shots, 
as of skirmishers, were heard on his flank and in his rear. 
The position was not a pleasant one, and he determined to 
seek some other, where he could at least be sure that the 
enemy was before instead of behind him. After several 
hours of reconnoitring and wandering to and fro in the 
darkness, the brigade finally struck a portion of the skirmish 
line of the Sixth corps and took a position back of it, which 
proved to be about where General Sedgwick had intended to 
place the brigade. The men were glad to halt and drop to 
sleep upon their arms. 

Next morning the Fourth regiment was sent forward to 
the skirmish line ; and the rest of the brigade was occupied 
during the day in intrenching its lines. Finding Lee fairly 
in his front, General Grant was now concentrating his army 
before attempting again to force his way. On this Monday 
morning, May 9th, Lee's lines enclosed Spottsylvania Court 
House in a semicircle, covering all the roads which con- 
verged there from the north and east. The country around 
is undulating, and was largely covered with forests, with 
occasional patches of cleared land. The marshy valleys of 
the Ny river and of the branches of the Po, and the ridges 
on either hand, afforded excellent natural advantages for 
defence, to which Lee added extensive earthworks and 
abatis. Grant's lines, as finally formed, swept in an irregular 
curve outside of Lee's, from the northwest to the southeast, 
the Second corps holding the right, and next, from right to 
left, the Fifth, Sixth and Ninth corps. Getty's division of 
the Sixth corps, commanded for the time being by Brig. 


General Neill, was formed in a clearing on a hillside in 
front of the Landron house, a mile and a half north of the 
Court House. In front of the clearing was a strip of woods, 
and beyond that a rise of open ground, along the crest of 
which ran the enemy's earthworks. Two of the Sixth corps 
batteries were placed on a crest in the rear of the line. 
Breastworks of logs and rails covered with earth protected 
the men. 

There was little fighting done this day, except by the 
skirmishers ; but it was a black day for the Sixth 
corps, for on it fell its brave and trusty com- 
mander, General John Sedgwick. As he stood in the early 
morning, directing the movements of some of the troops which 
were occupying the rifle-pits at the most advanced point of 
the Union line, 1 a ball from the rifle of a Confederate sharp- 
shooter, across the little valley in front, took effect under his 
left eye and passed out at the back of his head. He fell 
without word or sign into the arms of Colonel M. T. Mc- 
Mahon, of his staff, and was a dead man before he touched 
the ground. His death brought a deep gloom over the 
whole army, and in no portion of it was he more sincerely 
mourned than in the Vermont brigade. Its officers and men 
knew what " Uncle John" thought of them, and they return- 
ed his confidence and esteem to the full. 2 

1 On this spot, on the farm of Mr. Spindler, the State of Connecticut 
intends to erect a monument to her brave son. 

2 u Sedgwick's compliments many times cost the soldiers from Ver- 
mont very dear ; for they were the high compliments of placing them on 
many battlefields in the foremost position of danger of placing on them 
the whole reliance of the corps. On many a day he watched them, as the 
troops moved out of camp in the morning, or closed the long dusty march 
of the day ; and when, on one occasion in the Wilderness, when the Ver- 
mont brigade, returning, after heavy losses, from their march to the assist- 
ance of the Second corps, saw the general ride along the lines as they were 
coming into bivouac, they burst forth in a hearty spontaneous cheer that 
touched him to the very heart. And when the cheers subsided one of 
them stepped to the front and called out with a comic and yet touching 


The command of the Sixth corps would now have 
devolved by rank upon General Bicketts, commanding the 
Third division ; but, knowing that General Sedgwick had 
expressed a desire that General Wright should succeed him 
in case of his death, General Kicketts declined the com- 
mand, and it was assumed by General Wright. He was a 
native of Connecticut, a graduate of West Point, a major of 
engineers in the regular army, a brigadier general of volun- 
teers, and had shown marked executive ability in the Depart- 
ment of the South, before joining the Army of the Potomac 
as commander of the First division of the Sixth corps. He 
had distinguished himself and won a brevet at Eappahannock 
Station. He thus brought high qualifications to the com- 
mand of the corps. He could not make good the loss of 
Sedgwick no one could have done that; but the corps 
had in him a careful, pains-taking, energetic, and, on the 
whole, a successful commander, throughout the remainder of 
the war. 

May 10th was occupied chiefly in efforts to obtain infor- 
mation, by pressing the skirmish lines against those of the 
enemy at various points in the curtain of woods which 
screened them. In one of these attempts the Fourth Ver- 
mont regiment, under Major Pratt, drove back the enemy's 
skirmish line to their intrenchments, and secured some 
valuable information which determined the point of an 
assault made from the front of the Sixth corps in the latter 

emphasis: "Three more for old Uncle John!" The general's bronzed 
face flushed like a girl's ; and as his staff laughed at his embarrassment, the 
laugh spread along the lines and the whole brigade laughed and cheered as 
if just returning from a summer's picnic, and not from a bloody field, 
weary, worn and with decimated ranks. He could appreciate th^ir humor, 
knowing that no thought of disrespect ever entered it ; and a single smile 
from him went like a sunbeam through long columns of tired men, until it 
broadened into a laugh and culminated in cheers from the true hearts of as 
gallant soldiers as ever served a patriot cause." Colonel M. T. McMahon, 
Adjt. General, Sixth corps. 


part of the day. 1 This assault was part, and the only suc- 
cessful part, of a combined attack on the enemy's centre, 
made by portions of the Fifth and Sixth corps. The point 
selected by General Wright, wafc the apex of a salient of the 
enemy's lines, which were thrown forward for half a mile to 
the north, on his centre, along the brow of a hill near the 
farmhouse of Mr. McCool, and then, turning at an angle 
the famous " bloody angle " of Spottsylvania returned as 
far to the southeast. This salient was held by Dole's brigade 
(of Swell's corps) of Georgia troops. The position was 
guarded by two lines of works. The first of these was espec- 
ially strong, the top of the breastwork being faced with heavy 
logs, squared and pierced with loopholes, like a block house. 
The storming party which was to attack it was formed of 
twelve picked regiments, three of which were taken from the 
Vermont brigade. These were the Second, commanded by 
Lieut. Colonel S. E. Pingree of the Third ; the Fifth, Major 
Dudley, and the Sixth, Lieut. Colonel Hale, all under com- 
mand of Colonel T. O. Seaver of the Third. The command 
of the column was committed to the gallant Colonel Emory 
Upton of the One Hundred and Twenty-first New York, com- 
manding a brigade of Eicketts's division. At five o'clock the 
regiments selected unslung knapsacks, assembled in an open 
space in front of the breastworks of the Sixth corps, and 
were then marched silently forward to the farther edge of a 
strip of woods, which concealed them from the enemy. Here 
Colonel Upton formed his command in three lines the first 
consisting of his own brigade the One Hundred and Twenty- 
first New York, Fifth Maine, Ninety-sixth and One Hundred 
and Ninteenth Pennsylvania ; the second of five regiments 
of Neill's and Russell's brigades the Sixth Maine, Fifth 
Wisconsin, Forty-third and Seventy-seventh New York 

1 The Fourth lost two men killed and eighteen wounded in this skir- 


and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania ; the third of the three Ver- 
mont regiments. The bullets from the enemy's skirmishers, 
scarce a hundred yards distant, were whistling through the 
trees, and the men were directed to lie down till the word to 
advance should be given. The sounds of musketry and 
artillery for, unlike the Wilderness, the artillery played an 
important part at Spottsylvania came heavily from the right, 
where Warren's troops were struggling through the swamps 
and jungles, to be met by a terrible greeting in front of 
Longstreet's breastworks and to fall back through blazing 
woods, in which a number of wounded men were burned 
alive. Then the Sixth corps artillery, upon the crest behind 
the column, opened a tremendous fire on the salient. This 
ceased at six o'clock, as suddenly as it began, and Upton 
gave the order to advance. His men sprang to their feet, 
and with hearty cheers, burst out into the open ground. 
They were met by a sweeping front and flank fire of musketry 
and canister, but pushed straight onward; reached and 
mounted the opposing breastworks ; engaged the Confederates 
"behind them in a hand-to-hand fight; took 900 prisoners, 
drove out the rest ; and pressing forward to a second line of 
"works, took them also, with a battery posted in them. 

The salient was thus carried ; and if Mott's division of 
the Second corps, which was to support Upton, had followed 
him into the works, it could have been held, with very serious 
results to the enemy. But Mott's advance was checked by 
the enfilading fire of the enemy's batteries, and Upton was 
left without support. The enemy rallied against him in 
vastly superior force. Gordon's division of four brigades 
attacked him in front, and the three brigades of Battles, 
Daniels and Walker pressed on his flanks. It was plain that 
lie could not stay, and General Kussell, his division com- 
mander, who had watched the movement from the opposite 
crest, ordered a retreat. Most of the column fell back, first 
filling the guns they had taken with sods, to prevent their 


being served against them. But a number of the Vermonters 
failed to get the order to withdraw with the rest, and refused 
to go back, insisting that they could hold the works they were 
in, and that in fact it was safer to stay than to go. Colonel 
Upton rode back to them, to order them away; but their 
answer to him was : " We don't want to go. Send us am- 
munition and rations, and we can stay here six months." 
They did stay for two hours after the rest of the column had 
gone back. During this time General Wright rode up to 
Lieut. General Grant, and reported that some of his 
(Wright's) Yermonters were still in the salient and would not 
come away. " What shall I do ?" he asked. " Pile in the 
men and hold it," was Grant's reply. 1 General Wright went 
back to do this ; but meantime, under positive orders from 
General Russell, the Yermont regiments had been withdrawn. 
Four companies of the Third Yermont, under Captain Kenes- 
son, which had been on the skirmish line, advanced with the 
column, and some of them were among the last to leave the 
salient. After the failure of the movement they re-estab- 
lished the skirmish line. Upton's charge made him a brig- 
adier, and is one of the famous charges in the history of the 
army. That he failed to hold the ground he gained was not 
his fault, nor that of the Yermonters under him. Had a divi- 
sion been " piled in" to the support of them, there would have 
been no need of the bloodshed, two days later, which gave 
to the point of the salient its name of " the bloody angle." 
The brigade lost in this affair, including the casualties 
on the skirmish line, 88 men, as foUows : 

Killed. Wounded. Missing. 

Second Vermont Regiment, 123 

Third " " 10 1 

Fourth " " 2 18 

Fifth " " 1 19 12 

Sixth " " 2 17 

Total, 6 66 16 

1 Statement of C. C. Coffin, war correspondent at army headquarters. 


The Fifth regiment lost this day its last field officer, the 
intrepid Major Dudley, who was among the foremost in this 
as in every desperate endeavor. He died, a few days later, 
from his wound, as has been more fully related in the history 
of the Fifth regiment. Among the officers severely wounded 
were Captain Cook of the Third, and Captain Keith of the 

The brigade lay behind its entrenchments that night and 
the next day. The fighting was confined to skirmishing and 
heavy artillery firing. The works on each side had, however, 
been made quite strong, and the men were well covered. 
About dark the troops of the Vermont brigade were relieved 
in the rifle-pits, and permitted to bivouac and get some rest 
in a field in the rear. It was on this day General Grant sent 
to Washington his famous despatch : "I propose to fight it 
out on this line, if it takes all summer." 

The 12th of May the most important of the twelve 
days spent in the lines of Spottsylvania opened with fog 
and rain. During the previous night, Hancock's corps had 
been brought from the right to the left of the Sixth corps ; 
and arrangements were made for a far more formidable 
assault on the salient than that of the 10th. This took place 
as soon as it was light enough to see in the morning, with 
brilliant success. Barlow's and Birney's divisions led the 
assault, rushed up the slope to the Confederate entrench- 
ments in face of a severe fire, pushed through the abatis, 
mounted the breastworks at and near the apex of the salient, 
and captured the larger part of its defenders. Before six 
o'clock A. M., General Hancock had reported the capture of 
Maj. General Johnson, Brig. General Stuart, 4,000 Confed- 
erate infantry, 20 guns, several thousand stand of small arms, 
and over thirty colors. Of course, General Lee could not 
afford to have his centre thus pierced ; and he made every effort 
to repair the disaster. He threw heavy reinforcements into 
his second line of works, and with Gordon's, Mahone's and 


Wilcox's divisions attacked the troops of the Second corps, 
still in the disorder of their success, and pressed them back, 
till they reached and rallied behind the outer face of the 
captured breastworks, where, with a line of skirmishers in 
front within the salient, they made a stand. Meantime, the 
Sixth corps had been ordered to support Hancock, and 
taking Russell's and Getty's divisions, General Wright ad- 
vanced promptly up to the west angle of the salient. As the 
Yermont brigade moved up the slope it came under a severe 
artillery fire from the enemy's guns on its right, and lost 
a number of men. As soon as it arrived at the salient, 
General L. A. Grant was ordered to relieve the portion 
of Barlow's division which was holding the west face of 
the salient near the apex. He did this, forming his brig- 
ade in a double line, and throwing out a line of skirmishers, 
under a brisk fire of both musketry and artillery from the 
enemy, now ' gathering in heavy force in front. General 
Hancock was there in person, and seeing that General Russell 
was hardly pressed, a short distance to the right, ordered 
General Grant to go to his assistance with two regiments, 
leaving the rest where they were, to face the enemy till 
he could put other troops in their place. Accordingly, leav- 
ing Colonel Seaver in command of the other three regi- 
ments, Grant took the Fourth and Fifth regiments to the 
western angle of the salient. Here General Wheaton with 
his brigade was supporting Eussell and endeavoring to ad- 
vance through a thick growth of bushes and in face of a 
severe fire from the portion of the works on that side of the 
salient that was still held by the enemy. The two Ver- 
mont regiments moved forward gallantly and the Fourth 
took and held a portion of the front line of breastworks to 
the right of the angle. Soon Colonel Seaver came up with 
the rest of the brigade, and leaving the Fourth regiment with 

1 About 8 o'clock A. M. 


General Wheaton, and holding the Sixth in reserve behind a 
swell of ground, General Grant put the Second, Third and 
Fifth regiments in along the outer face of the west angle, 
which was in imminent danger of recapture. For at this 
time, (about 9 o'clock), McGowan's brigade of South Carolina 
troops, of Wilcox's division, regained the trenches on the 
inner face of the breastwork, from the apex for some distance 
down along the west side. And now began one of the most 
desperate struggles of the war, for the possession of the 
angle. Says General L. A. Grant: "It was literally a hand 
"to hand fight. Nothing but the piled up logs of the 
"breastworks separated the combatants. Our men would 
"reach over the logs and fire into the faces of the enemy, 
"and stab over with their bayonets. Many were shot 
"and stabbed through crevices and holes in the logs. 
"Scores were shot down within a few feet of the death- 
" dealing muskets. Men mounted the works, and with 
" muskets rapidly handed up, kept up a continuous fire until 
" they were shot down, when others would take their places 
"and continue the deadly work. 1 Some men clubbed their 
"muskets, others used clubs and rails. General Upton 
" personally attended to the serving of two pieces of artillery 
" which, when loaded, were repeatedly wheeled up by hand 
" to a low or open place in the works, on the left side of the 
"angle, from which the enemy's lines were enfiladed with 
"great effect. Several times during the day the rebels showed 
" a white flag above the works, and when our fire slackened 
"jumped over and surrendered, while others were crowded 
44 down to fill their places. It was there that the somewhat 

1 As one of many similar incidents, it is related that private W. W. 
Noyes, of Company F. of the Second Vermont, mounted the breast- 
works, when loaded muskets were passed up to him by his comrades from 
below, and he fired thirty shots into the enemy lying in the trenches a few 
feet away. The bullets whistled thickly around him, and one knocked 
his cap from his head, but he escaped unhurt. 


" celebrated tree was cut off by bullets ; there that the brush 
"and logs were cut to pieces and whipped into basket-stuff; 
"there that fallen men's flesh was torn from their bones and 
"the bones shattered ; there that the rebel ditches and cross- 
" sections were filled with dead men several deep. Some of 
"the wounded were almost entirely buried by the dead 
"bodies of their companions that had fallen upon them. 
"In this way the Vermont brigade was engaged for about 
"eight hours." The reports of other eye witnesses on both 
sides fully confirm these statements of the closeness and 
deadliness of the struggle. The Confederate General Mc- 
Gowan, says : " Our men lay on one side of the breastwork, 
the enemy on the other ; and in many instances men were 
pulled over. The trenches on the right, in the angle, ran 
with blood, and had to be cleared of the dead more than 
once. An oak tree, twenty-two inches in diameter,in the rear 
of the brigade, was cut down by the constant scaling of 
musket balls, and fell about twelve o'clock Thursday night, 
injuring several men in the First South Carolina regiment." 1 
Mr. Swinton says : "Of all the struggles of the war, this was 
"perhaps the fiercest and most deadly. The enemy's most 
"savage sallies were directed to retake the famous salient, 
"which was now become an angle of death and presented a 
" spectacle ghastly and terrible. On the Confederate side of 
"the works lay many corpses of those who had been bay- 
"oneted by Hancock's men when they first leaped the 
" intrenchments. To these were constantly added the bravest 
"of those who in the assaults to recapture the position, fell 
"at the margin of the works, till the ground was literally 
" covered with piles of dead. I speak of what I personally 
"saw. In the vicious phraseology commonly employed by 

1 General MeGowan reported a loss of 451 men, killed, wounded and 
missing, in this action, including four regimental commanders and twenty 
five other officers. 


" those who never witnessed a battlefield, 'piles of dead* 
fc * figure much more frequently than they exist in the reality. 
" The phrase is here no figure of speech, as can be attested 
"by thousands who witnessed the ghastly scene. The mus- 
" ketry fire had the effect to kill the whole forest within its 
" range, and there is at Washington the trunk of a tree, 
"eighteen inches in diameter, which was actually cut in two 
"by the bullets." Outside of the angle the carnage was less 
frightful ; but in the bushes and along the ground in front of 
the rebel breastworks, for nearly half a mile, lay hundreds of 
bodies of men of the Second and Sixth corps, who fell in the 
assault. The fight at the angle continued with great fury till 
nearly dark, the rain falling heavily meantime, and the dark- 
ness settling early. It then began to abate but did not cease 
till three o'clock next morning, when Lee gave up the hopeless 
effort to retake the salient, and withdrew his men to a new 
line of works, which had been built during the night across 
the base of the salient, three-fourths of a mile back from the 

It was about dark when the Vermont brigade, its am- 
munition being exhausted, was relieved by other troops at the 
angle, and was sent round to the right, the men feeling their 
way in the darkness through dense woods, till permitted to 
halt and rest for the night. There was some fighting done 
elsewhere along the lines by the Fifth and Ninth corps this 
day, and the Army of the Potomac lost in all 6,820 men 
killed, wounded and missing, while it inflicted on Lee a loss 
never definitely reported, but moderately estimated by 
General Humphreys at between 9,000 and 10,000 the larger 
part of which took place in the salient. Two Confederate 
brigadiers were killed and four wounded severely, and a major 
general and a brigadier general were captured. On the Union 
side General Wright was wounded early in the day, but 
retamed command of the corps, and two brigade commanders, 
Webb and Carroll of the Second corps, were wounded. 


The loss of the Vermont brigade was 254, as follows : 

Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total. 

Second Vermont regiment, 19 76 6 101 

Third, " " 9 43 3 55 

Fourth, " " 2 26 6 34 

Fifth, " " 9 34 8 51 

Sixth, " 3 7 3 13 

Total, 42 186 26 254 

This was the last day of hard fighting at Spottsylvania. 
Next day the Yermont brigade moved back to the left, and 
on Saturday, the 14th, it moved with the Sixth corps two miles 
to the south, and was posted on the left of the corps, near 
the Anderson house, on the Ny river, a mile and a half east 
of Spottsylvania Court House. 

The event of the next day was the accession to the 
brigade of the Eleventh Vermont regiment, Colonel Warner, 
which, after two years of service as heavy artillery in the 
forts around Washington, had now been attached to the Ver- 
mont brigade. Marching from Washington via Belle Plain 
and Fredericksburg, it reached the front and joined the 
brigade on Sunday morning, May 15th. It was, as it were, a 
brigade in itself, having 1,500 officers and men in its line a 
larger number than was now left of the other five regiments 
put together. It was finely equipped, ably officered, and in 
all respects a splendid body of soldiers. With 150 recruits, 
which were added to the old regiments at this time, this 
accession more than made good in numbers the losses of the 
"brigade in the campaign, and put new heart into the sur- 
vivors. The new comers found the veterans o'f the old brigade 
physically worn, but stout of heart, enthusiastic, even ex- 
hilarated in spirit; for they knew that they had done their 
duty in every fight in which they had taken part, and they 
were ready for whatever effort or danger the future might 

On the 16th, a reconnoissance was made by Colonel 
Seaver, with the Third regiment, to the south of Spottsylvania 


Court House, to determine the situation in that quarter, pre- 
paratory to the next movement of the army by the left flank, 
which Lieut. General Grant had now decided on. But before 
putting the army again in motion, he concluded, upon General 
Wright's suggestion, to make one more attempt on General 
Lee's left, which it was surmised had been considerably 
weakened to reinforce his threatened right. For this assault 
the Second and Sixth corps were again selected, and in the 
night of the 17th, were moved back to the vicinity of the 
captured salient, from which at daylight next day they were 
to assault Lee's line across the base of the salient. Start- 
ing after dark, the troops had a muddy and by no means 
cheerful all-night march through the brush and swamps, 
getting into position before daybreak in the captured trenches 
on the west side of the salient and in the rifle pits extending 
from them to the right, built to connect them with the former 
line of the Sixth corps. About four in the morning Barlow 
and Gibbon of the Second corps, moved to the attack in 
lines of brigades, and the Sixth corps advanced at the same 
time on their right. The Yermont brigade was in two lines 
of battle the old regiments in front, and the Eleventh, 
which owing to its size was manoeuvred in three battalions, 1 
forming the second line. The troops of the Second corps, 
being nearest to the point of attack, reached it first, and 
found that the enemy was still there in strong force, and 
protected by formidable works, access to which was impeded 
by slashings of timber and double linos of abatis. His 
artillery and musketry swept the ground in front ; and though 
the lines of Barlow and Gibbon reached the abatis, they 
could get no further and fell back under cover, with some 

1 The Eleventh had twelve companies, averaging 125 men each. Each 
battalion thus had eight platoons, and was handled like a regiment of eight 
companies. The three battalions exceeded any brigade in the division in 


In the advance of the Sixth corps, the Vermont regiments 
moved through the woods, with hostile shells crashing and 
cracking through the branches over their heads, and thence 
out into open ground, to the base of a slope, where the brigade 
was halted to dress the lines for the charge. Starting with 
three brigades in front of it, the brigade soon overtook the 
front line, and was kindly permitted by the troops in advance 
of it to take the front. Here it awaited the order to 
advance. The enemy's batteries to the right had now got 
good range ; and the brigade "commander's order to lie down 
was cheerfully obeyed bj his command. The rebel sharp-' 
shooters were also busy in the tree-tops in front, and 
Colonel Warner received a wound through the neck, which 
narrowly escaped being a mortal one. He retained command 
however, and his men, animated by his example, conducted 
themselves with remarkable steadiness, in this their first 
experience under fire. The expected charge, however, 
was not ordered. General Meade, in view of the diffi- 
cult and doubtful character of the attempt, had ordered it to 
be suspended, and about noon, the troops of both corps were 
withdrawn, and the brigade marched back to its former posi- 
tion, south of the Ny, and on the extreme left of the army. 
The casualties in the brigade in this affair numbered 37, 
almost all in the Second, Third and Eleventh regiments the 
latter having twelve men wounded, among the number 
being Lieutenant Glazier, who lost an arm. 

After two days and nights spent in this position, during 
which the lines were advanced about a mile on the left, the 
Sixth corps started, in the evening of the 21st, for Guinea 
Station, eight miles south, on its way to the North Anna 
River. The Yermont brigade was among the last troops of 
the corps to leave, and as the enemy, aware that the move- 
ment of the army had begun, pressed closely on its rear, 
the withdrawal was a delicate matter, and the duty on the 
skirmish line in which the Yermonters so excelled called 


for all their watchfulness and steadiness. In this service, dur- 
ing the night of the 20th and day and night of the 21st, a 
detail of 200 men from the Eleventh regiment, under com- 
mand of Captain A. F. Walker, reinforced on the 21st by 50 
men under Captain James Rice, all under Major Hunsdon, 
as field officer of the brigade for the day, took part, and 
showed their quality, as equal to the best. As a sample of 
what picket duty was, at this time, their experience is worth 
describing somewhat in detail. The opposing picket lines, 
to the southeast of Spottsylvania Court House, were pressed 
closely together, the pickets sheltering themselves behind 
trees or other cover. The shooting was so close upon any 
exposure, that the reliefs could only reach their posts during 
daylight by crawling out on their hands and knees ; and as a 
rule the line was relieved only at night. All night long the 
firing kept up at the slightest sound or motion, and the strain 
of incessant watchfulness was severe. During the morning 
of the 21st, the men learned that the corps and the army had 
quietly moved to the south, leaving the skirmish line to 
maintain a front against the enemy. Towards noon, an order 
was whispered along the line, to withdraw half a mile to the 
rear, to a line of rifle-pits which for several days had pro- 
tected the front line of the corps. The skirmishers could 
not be withdrawn unseen, and the retirement was accom- 
plished by the pickets' starting at a given signal and making 
a dead run amid flying bullets to the rear. They were 
sharply pursued by the Confederate pickets, till they brought 
up in the rifle-pits, when their pursuers thought best to halt. 
There were barely men enough, including the picket reserves, 
to man the pits with a single thin line. The line to the right 
of the Yermonters was held by a detail of Massachusetts 
troops. Here they held their ground till five o'clock, when 
General Wilcox, of Hill's corps, who had been sent out to 
ascertain what Union force still remained in front of Spott- 
sylvania Court House, attacked the rifle-pits with two brig- 


ades and a section of artillery. He was twice repulsed, with 
considerable loss. 

On a third attempt one of Wilcox's regiments succeeded 
in reaching and planting its colors on the breastworks at the 
right of the Yermonters. The troops in that portion of 
the rifle-pits gave way, and the enemy moved down the line 
of the pits to flank the small Union force out of them. 
Captain Walker, however, with remarkable coolness and 
spirit, held most of his men, and by a sharp flank fire kept 
the enemy in check till Colonel Seaver, who had been sent 
back with the Third regiment to reinforce the skirmish line, 
arrived, when, with the aid of artillery, the enemy was driven 
out of the rifle-pits and soon retired, having gained no in- 
formation they did not possess before. Two men of the 
Eleventh were killed in this affair, and were buried in the 
intrenchments where they fell, and several were wounded. 
This picket detail of the Eleventh spent a second night of 
constant watching in the rifle-pits, till nearly daylight of the 
22d, when orders came to follow the corps. They then quietly 
filed out, and marched, with a single halt for breakfast, till 
three P. M., when they overtook the brigade at Guinea 
Station. There the march was resumed with the corps and 
kept up till after dark ; was again taken up at daybreak oi 
the 23d, and was kept up until nine p. M., the last five miles 
being a forced march to the support of the Fifth corps, then 
under fire at the crossing of the North Anna thus giving 
the detail, as an official report states, out of seventy-four 
hours of time, sixty-seven hours of about the hardest pos- 
sible duty, with a fight thrown in. 

The Sixth corps halted the night of the 22d at Harris's 
store, about five miles south of Guinea Station, and the next 
day, after a hot and dusty march, constantly impeded by the 
army trains, reached the North Anna river at Jericho Mills, 
where the army was concentrating along both banks. Here 
again, General Lee, marching lightest and by the most direct 


roads, had placed the Army of Northern Virginia across the 
way of the Army of the Potomac. The Fifth corps, which 
preceded the Sixth on the march, after crossing the North 
Anna on the afternoon of the 23d, was attacked by A 4 P. 
Hill, but repulsed him. The Sixth corps hastened forward 
to reinforce the Fifth ; but was not needed, and camped that 
night on the northern bank of the river. In this movement 
to the North Anna General Grant abandoned Fredericksburg 
as his base of supply, which was now shifted to Port Royal, 
on the Rappahannock. 

The losses of the brigade, in action, in the three weeks 
since it crossed the Rapidan, were reported by General L. A. 
Grant on the 23d of May, to be 249 killed, 1,231 wounded, 
170 missing, total 1,650, of which 1,634 were from the 
original regiments. Of the wounded not less than 190 died of 
their wounds ; and to these losses were to be added about 
100 more discharged for disability, and about 300 who had 
broken down under the fatigues and exposures of the cam- 
paign, and had been sent to Northern hospitals. Less than 
half the veterans who were in the ranks on the 1st of May, 
now answered to the roll call, and of the officers but a third 

The town of Fredericksburg had now become one vast 
hospital. Its churches, public buildings and most of its 
private houses of any size were filled with wounded men 
sent by thousands from the battlefields of the Wilderness 
and Spottsylvania. The untold agonies suffered by these in 
the long ambulance journeys over rough and corduroyed 
roads, and by many from lack of proper care after reaching 
Fredericksburg, can scarcely be imagined, certainly not 
described. Under the enormous influx of sick and wounded 
men, the hospital supplies and surgical force proved at first 
quite insufficient. The surgeons stood at the operating 
tables till their swollen feet could no longer support them, 
and till their exhausted nerves failed to guide the hands 


which grasped the knives. The thousand Yermonters taken 
thither probably fared better than the majority of this 
army of unfortunates, owing to the extraordinary efforts put 
forth by the State authorities for their relief. Governor 
Smith and Surgeon General Thayer went in person to Fred- 
ericksburg, and gave able and unwearied effort to the care of 
the wounded, and the surgical force in charge of them was 
enlarged by despatching thither fifteen or twenty of the 
best physicians and surgeons in Vermont. 1 In the last week 
in May the wounded were all taken from Fredericksburg 
to Washington by transports ; and from thence hundreds of 
the Vermonters were sent to Vermont, where, in the large 
army hospitals at Burlington, Montpelier and Brattleboro, 
provision had been made for the care of over 1,500 patients. 
In the year ending September 10, 1864, 2,551 sick and 
wounded Vermonters were received and cared for in these 
hospitals, and over 600 soldiers of other States. 

The Sixth corps crossed the North Anna in the morning 
of the 24th, but was not called on to take any part in the 
fighting by which the position of the enemy was develope d 
and the brigade had two days of comparative rest, though in 
plain sight of the enemy. Lieut. General Grant found that 
Lee, who had been reinforced by Breckenridge's division and 

1 Among those so sent, who rendered valuable service in the Fred- 
ericksburg and Washington hospitals, were Doctors G. F. Gale of Brattle- 
boro; J. M. Knox, of Burlington; C. M. Chandler, of Montpelier; C. G. 
Adams, of Island Pond: W. M. Huntington, of Rochester; A. C. Welch; 
of Williston; J. F. Miles, of Hinesburgh; D. W. Haselton, of Cavendish, 
H. Powers, of Morrisville ; B. Fairchild, of Milton ; S. Newell and H. S. 
Brown, of St. Johnsbury, and C. S. Cahoon, of Lyndon. 

Surgeon Stevens, of the Seventy-seventh New York, wrote from Fred- 
ericksburg on the llth of May: "We are almost worked to death. All day 
yesterday I worked at the operating table. That was the fourth day at the 
tables, besides two whole nights and part of another. It does not seem as 
though I could take a knife in my hand to day. Yet there are a hundred 
cases of amputations waiting for me. It is a scene of horror such as I never 
saw. Hundreds of ambulances are coming in now, and it is almost mid- 
night. So they come every night." 


other troops, occupied a position so guarded by swamps and 
streams that he could only be attacked at great disadvantage, 
and in the night of the 26th, he withdrew the Army of the 
Potomac and resumed his flank movement, moving on the 
north side of the North Anna to ihe southeast, till he reached 
Hanovertown on the Pamuukey Elver, fifteen miles north of 
Richmond. The march was a trying one, for the mud was 
deep that night, and the heat next day oppressive. 

The brigade crossed the Pamunkey with the division 
on the 27th, three miles above Hanovertown, and then, turn- 
ing back, marched two miles toward Hanover Court House. 
The next day it marched south some six miles, to a position 
along Totopotomoy Creek, where it guarded the right flank 
of the army and maintained an extensive picket line, while 
the army was slowly crowding its way toward the Confederate 
capital, against ceaseless opposition. During the incessant 
skirmishing and more serious fighting of May 30th, however, 
the brigade was not engaged. 

On the 31st, the skirmish lines were everywhere pressed 
closely against the enemy and the pickets of Major Cham- 
berlain's battalion of the Eleventh had a lively day of 
it, though they lost but one man killed, and but three or 
four wounded. This battalion was left on the picket line 
when the brigade left, next day, and did not join it till the 
next night. 1 

On the night of the 31s fc of May, the Sixth corps was 
detached from the army and sent forward to occupy Cold 
Harbor, where Grant had decided to force the passage of the 

1 " During all these marches, the engagement at Spottsylvania, and the 
assault upon the picket line, there were only four or five missing, or one in 
three hundred ; and this, too, in a regiment of only ten days' field service, 
and whose longest previous march was four miles. This is a record which 
I think, has never been equalled." Report of Lieut. Colonel Benton, com- 
manding Eleventh Vermont. 


Chickahominy. 1 The position there was a most important 
one ; for at that point five roads meet, leading thence to the 
crossings of the Chickahominy and to Kichmond, and also 
to White House, the new base of the Army of the Poto- 
mac. The possession of Cold Harbor was indeed essential, 
either to the immediate investment of Kichmond from the 
north and east, or to the proposed movement to the James, 
already planned by Lieut. General Grant. Sheridan, with 
the cavalry, had occupied the position on the 31st after a 
sharp fight, and was holding it against heavy opposition and 
increasing numbers, at noon the next day, when the Sixth 
corps came in sight. The day was sultry, the dust ankle 
deep, and the march exhausting in the extreme ; and the men 
were glad to halt, even it were to fight. They arrived just in 
time to relieve the cavalry, who could not have held their 
ground half an hour longer. Here General Wright was joined 
during the afternoon by General William F. Smith, who had 
moved up from White House with a column of 10,000 men 
of the Eighteenth and Tenth corps, the latter under General 
Brooks, the old commander of the Vermont brigade. These 
troops of the Army of the James, with which General Butler 
had been threatening Kichmond from the south, had fought 
the battle of Drury's Bluff, and had been "bottled up" at 
Bermuda Hundred whence the larger part of Butler's com- 
mand was brought, under Smith, to the White House, to co- 
operate with the Army of the Potomac. Immediately upon 
the detachment of the Sixth corps, Lee had despatched Early 
and Longstreet's corps (the latter commanded by Anderson) 
to occupy Cold Harbor and protect the crossings of the 
Chickahominy. They were not able to do the first ; but 

lu Many interpretations of Cold Harbor or Coal Harbor have been 
given. It has been suggested that the proper form is " Cool Arbor;" but 
it would appear that Cold Harbor is a common name for many places along 

the travelled roads in England, and means simply " shelter without fire." 



accomplished the last, taking position between the Chicka- 
hominy and Cold Harbor, where they intrenched their lines 
and awaited Wright's attack. Grant had expected this to be 
made in the morning ; but an unfortunate mistake in an order, 
which sent General Smith out of his way and delayed him 
four or five hours, and the exhausted condition of Wright's 
men, after their march, caused it to be postponed till after- 

The Vermont brigade, as was so often the case on forced 
marches, led the advance of the Sixth corps, from Hanover- 
town to Cold Harbor. The veterans of the older regiments 
of the brigade were especially glad to find, on arriving at that 
point, that the Sixth corps was to have the support of their 
old commanders, Generals Smith and Brooks, in the battle 
which was evidently at hand. 


Cold Harbor Part Taken by the Vermont Brigade the First Day The 
Assault of the Second Day Gallant Part of Stannard's Brigade 
Unsuccessful Attack of the Third Day The Army in Trenches Ex- 
posures and Sufferings of the Troops Movement of the Army to the 
James Investment of Petersburg The Vermont Brigade in the front 
Line Movement of the Sixth and Second Corps against the Weldon 
Railroad Heavy Loss of the Brigade Over 400 Vermonters captured 
Over Half of them die in Rebel Prisons Expedition against the 
Danville and Lynchburg Railroad Back Again to Washington Early' s 
Raid Against the Capital The Sixth Corps sent to meet Him President 
Lincoln wants to see the Vermont Brigade The Engagement in front 
of Fort Stevens Hard Marching in Maryland and Virginia First 
Sight of the Shenandoah Valley Return to Washington A Hot Day 
at Harper's Ferry and March to Frederick, Md. Results of Halleck's 
Strategy in chasing Cavalry with Infantry Change of Commanders 
Sketch of General P. H. Sheridan Return of the Sixth Corps to the 

It was on the first of June that the Vermont brigade, 
marching left in front, moved down across the road leading 
from Old Cold Harbor to New Cold Harbor, and fronted 
into line on the south of that road, on the left of the 
division, and corps, and on the extreme left of the army. 
Open ground in front extended to the enemy's line of in- 
trenchments, which ran along the edge of some woods, 
about half a mile away. These were held by four Confederate 
divisions, those of Hoke and Kershaw, so often opposed to 
the Sixth corps, being in front of it now. The ground was 
nearly the same as that on which the battle of Gaines's 
Mill, the first of the Seven Days' battles in 1862, was fought, 
with, however, the positions of the combatants reversed. 
General Wright had been ordered to attack, at once, on his 
arrival, with the co-operation of Smith's command ; but 


for reasons already given the afternoon was well advanced 
before the dispositions were completed. In the formation 
of the second division for the assault, the Yermont brigade 
was placed in the front line, formed in a double line of 
battle, with the Third Yermont thrown out as skirm- 
ishers. Two other brigades of the division were in its 
rear. About five o'clock p. M., fifty Union guns opened 
vigorously, in return to those with which the enemy had been 
for some time shelling Wright's lines. As the advance was 
about to be made, the sudden appearance and firing of a 
hostile battery which opened from the left, and a strong 
pressure on the skirmish line from the same direction, caused 
apprehensions of a flank attack from that quarter. To meet 
this, General Neill, commanding the division, was ordered to 
refuse the left of his line. Brig. General Grant, under his 
orders, accordingly fronted the Fourth and Sixth regiments 
and Major Hunsdon's battalion of the Eleventh to the left, 
while the Fifth was detached to support a battery close by. 
As a consequence of this arrangement these regiments did not 
participate in the main assault. The Second regiment, under 
Lieut. Colonel S. E. Pingree, and Major Fleming's battalion 
of the Eleventh, 1 under the immediate command of Lieut. 
Colonel Benton, went forward with Russell's division on 
their right, which made a simultaneous charge with Rickett's 
division farther to the right. It was no holiday work. 
The enemy was well posted, his lines covered and con- 
cealed by woods, while the attacking troops moved over 
open ground. They started at a moderate pace, for the men 
had marched hard and had been suffering much from the 
heat during the day. Both the artillery and musketry fire in 
front was terrific. In twenty minutes nearly a quarter of the 
assaulting force had fallen ; but they moved steadily on. At 
the centre, General Ricketts, of whose division the Tenth 

1 Consisting of Companies F. L. K. and H. , to which Company E. 
was added for the time being. 


Vermont regiment formed a part, advancing along the line of 
the road to New Cold Harbor, struck the enemy's main line, 
took 600 prisoners of Hoke's and Kershaw's divisions, and 
though compelled by a rally of the latter to relinquish a 
part of the works after entering them, also held a part. 1 
Upton's brigade entered the Confederate intrenchments on 
the left of Eickett's. The brigade on the right of the Ver- 
mont regiments did not reach the works in front, but halted 
about 300 yards from them. Fleming's battalion, however, 
pressed on to within 100 yards of the enemy's breastwork, 
when, discovering that the battalion was advancing alone, 
without support on either flank, Colonel Benton halted and 
withdrew it a short distance. Here, throwing themselves flat, 
the men secured partial shelter from the bullets which 
whistled over and around them by digging shallow trenches 
with their bayonets, tin plates and cups, and held their 
ground till nightfall. On the right of the Sixth corps, 
Devens's division, with heavy loss of officers and men, cap- 
tured an advanced line of rifle-pits. Still farther to the right 
Brooks's division was repulsed from the enemy's main line. 
The sun sank red in the west, on a field veiled by clouds of 
smoke and dust, and the stretcher-bearers were busy along a 
front of over two miles. The enemy continued their efforts 
to regain the captured works till nine o'clock, when they 
ceased. During the night "Wright and Smith intrenched the 
positions they had gained. In this assault the battalion of 
the Eleventh engaged lost 13 men killed and 107 wounded. 
The Second Vermont had nine men wounded. The loss of 
the Sixth corps in killed and wounded was about 1,200, and 
of the Eighteenth corps 900. 

The next day was occupied in making arrangements for 
a renewal, in much stronger force, of the effort to force the 
passage of the Chickahominy. Hancock's corps was placed 

1 The Tenth Vermont distinguished itself, capturing almost entire the 
Fifty first North Carolina. The Tenth lost about 180 killed and wounded. 


on the left of Wright, taking in part the place of the Second 
division of the Sixth corps, which was brought around to the 
right of the corps to take the place of Devens's division which 
was moved still further to the right. The corps of Warren 
and Burnside were posted on the right of Smith. In this 
arrangement, Neill's division, of which the Vermont brigade 
was a part, occupied with its front line the rifle-pits which 
Devens had carried the day before. The front was a narrow 
one, and the division was formed in successive lines, the Ver- 
mont regiments forming the fourth line. The bulging of the 
Union line to the front at this point, however, brought the 
entire division, rear as well as front, under fire during the 
skirmishing, which was often brisk in front; and the troops 
were only saved from serious loss by burrowing in the sandy 
soil. General Lee, on his part, was also concentrating his 
army, and industriously strengthening his breastworks, three 
parallel lines of which guarded his centre. Generals Grant 
and Meade had intended to make the grand assault at four in 
the afternoon of the 2d ; but various delays and a severe 
thunder storm at that hour led to a postponement of it to the 
next day. 

Next morning, Friday, Jane 3d, the men, who had lain 
on their arms all night, were roused in the gray of the early 
dawn, and shortly before five o'clock the cracking along the 
skirmish line announced the beginning of the assault. The 
Second, Sixth and Eighteenth corps were rushing forward 
against the hostile breastworks, now wrapped in folds of white 
smoke, while bursting from behind them, a pitiless storm of 
lead and iron swept the slopes and hollows in front. 

Hancock's corps lost a thousand men in fifteen minutes, 
and though it forced its way into the enemy's works at two 
points, taking three guns and several hundred prisoners, it 
could not hold them and was forced back ; retaining, however, 
an advanced position, where it intrenched and held its 


Of the Sixth corps, the second division, whicn was on 
the right of the corps, was formed for the attack in three 
lines, the Vermont brigade forming the second line. The 
front line, composed of two regiments of Wheaton's brigade, 
drove the enemy's skirmishers from a line of rifle-pits and 
advanced to the edge of a piece of woods, about two hundred 
yards from the enemy's main line of intrenchments. The 
Union lines on either hand were making no headway, and 
Wheaton halted ; the Vermont brigade moved up behind 
him, and at his request, General L. A. Grant now relieved 
his line, placing in its stead the Third and Fifth Vermont 
regiments, while Wheaton took his brigade back, leaving 
the Vermont brigade in front of the division. But no further 
advance was ordered from that point. 

The other divisions on its left had been, if anything, less 
successful ; though advanced positions were gained and held, 
in some places within forty yards of the enemy's works. 
The Sixth corps lost 800 men that morning, including some 
valuable officers. On the right of the Sixth corps, Martin- 
dale's division, of General Smith's command, made a gallant 
advance. His leading brigade was commanded by a well 
known Vermonter, General George J. Stannard, who after 
recovering from his wound received at Gettysburg, was 
assigned to the command of a brigade of the Eighteenth 
corps. Moving down a ravine which opened out at a point 
where the enemy's lines made a re-entrant angle, Stannard 
made three gallant and desperate charges. Twice he nearly 
reached the breastworks in front ; but the raking fire from 
both flanks was too deadly to be endured, and he relinquished 
the attempt ; but not till after every regimental commander 
but one, sixty per cent, of his line officers and fifty per cent, 
of the men of his brigade had fallen. Stannard was himself 
wounded in the thigh, but kept his saddle, and he lost every 
member of his personal staff, killed or wounded. Among 
them was Lieutenant George W. Hooker, of the Fourth Ver- 


mont, who received two dangerous wounds in his shoulder 
and side. With the aid of a single orderly, alone remaining 
of his personal attendants, Stannard withdrew the shattered 
remnant of his brigade and re-formed it in the rear. Still 
further to the right Brooks's division suffered severely, and 
gained little ground. The Eighteenth corps lost a thousand 
men. Another thousand was lost by *the Fifth and Ninth 
corps. No decisive advantage was gained at any point. The 
assault was a general failure. 

Preparations were made, however, by the corps com- 
manders, to renew it at noon. In the new dispositions for 
this, the Vermont brigade, now in the front line, was to lead 
the division. The enterprise looked like a forlorn hope. 
The men were maintaining their position in the open timber, 
by lying closely on the ground. The skirmishers, of the 
Third and Fifth regiments, in the edge of the woods, were 
sharply engaged and losing a good many men. The enemy's 
main lines were in full view from the skirmish line, his 
intrenchments evidently strong and amply defended, and 
artillery and musketry were in full and eager play on both 
sides. The order to advance was awaited under these cir- 
cumstances, not with impatience, yet with stern determina- 
tion; but it did not come. This was the time, when, 
according to Mr. Greeley and Mr. Swinton, the soldiers of 
the Army of the Potomac with one consent deliberately 
refused to obey an order to renew the attack. This statement 
has been squarely denied by General Grant, 1 and indignantly 
repelled by many soldiers. Certainly there was never a time 
when the Sixth corps or the Vermont brigade refused to 

NEW YORK, February 7th, 1884. 

'"I never gave any order to any army that I commanded during the 
rebellion, to make an attack, where it was disobeyed. It is possible that 
] have given an order for an attack for a certain hour and afterward con- 
cluded that it would be better, possibly, not to make it ; but I do not 
remember that any such circumstance as that took place at Cold Harbor." 



attack when ordered. The facts were, as stated by General 
Humphreys, adjutant general of the Army of the Potomac, 
that as early as seven o'clock in the morning, Lieut. General 
Grant had directed General Meade to suspend the assault at 
the moment it became clear that it was not likely to succeed. 
At a later hour, after consulting his corps commanders and 
learning that with the exception of General Wright they 
were not sanguine of success, he directed General Meade not 
to renew the attack. 

There was a sharp clash of picket lines and their sup- 
ports on the right of the Second and left of the Sixth corps at 
eight o'clock that evening, in which the enemy was repulsed, 
and with this the battle of Cold Harbor ended. The loss of 
the Yermont brigade in it was 104 men, almost all of the 
Third and Fifth regiments the Third losing 10 killed and 
56 wounded, and the Fifth seven killed and 22 wounded. 
During the night of the 3d, General Wright directed General 
L. A. Grant to send half of the brigade to strengthen 
General Russell's division. The Third, Fifth and two bat- 
talions of the Eleventh, under Colonel Seaver, were accord- 
ingly detached and sent to the left, where they were placed 
in the front line. The rest of the Vermont brigade retained 
its position in the front line of the Second division. 

As Lieut. General Grant was now desirous to detain as 
much of Lee's army as possible near Eichmond, while an 
expedition under General Hunter moved up the Shenandoah 
Valley against Lynchburg and the Confederate lines of 
supply by rail and canal accessible from that point, he gave 
orders to the corps commanders of the Army of the Potomac 
to intrench their lines, and to press them against those of the 
enemy by saps and parallels. In pursuance of these in- 
structions ten days now followed of the closest contact with 
the enemy possible, short of actual assault in line ; and of the 
most incessant and severe exposure that the army had yet 


In a few hours after the close of the fighting on the 3d, 
the whole army was in trenches. From under the breast- 
works zigzag ditches, six feet deep, were run out in front, at 
the ends of which smaller breastworks were thrown up for 
the picket posts. At night the main trenches would be ad- 
vanced to the skirmish line, and fresh saps pushed forward. 
This had to be done under fire at short rifle range from 
the enemy's lines, 1 while his guns commanded almost every 
rod of ground for a breadth of half a mile along the five or 
six miles of the front of the Army of the Potomac. The 
musketry firing on the front lines was continuous, and the 
slightest exposure made the soldier a target; while to 
frequent showers of shell and grape from the enemy's field 
batteries was added the work of siege howitzers, set on end,, 
which dropped large shells within the Union trenches.* 
No reliefs or changes of troops could be made except at 
night, and any sound brought a response of bullets or shells^ 
Confederate sharpshooters, posted in tree tops, picked off 

1 At some points the Union approaches were within forty yards of the 
Confederate parapets. 

2 The following incident, related by Captain Walker, of the Eleventh 
Vermont, shows something of the vigor and accuracy of the enemy's artillery 
at this time: 

"During one of the last nights of our stay at Cold Harbor, a com- 
pany of regular engineers threw up in the midst of our brigade a little earth- 
work for the use of a section of artillery which was placed in position just 
at daybreak. The enthusiastic artillerists had great expectations in regard 
to the damage about to be inflicted upon the enemy by their two little field 
pieces, and at " sun-up," as our colored brothers say, they opened vigor- 
ously. It was intended for a surprise, and it was, not alone to the enemy; 
but also and especially to our "regular" allies, who were spending their 
first morning under fire. It could not have been more than ten minutes, 
before, to their consternation and our amusement, the whole concern, 
earthwork, guns, gun-carriages, platforms and artillery had disappeared in 
a cloud of dust and smoke, literally knocked to pieces by the concentrated 
fire of half a dozen hidden rebel batteries. At night the poor artillerists 
gathered up the fragments of their field pieces, and quietly retired, sadder 
and wiser men." 


the officers, if they moved outside of the embankments which 
protected the tents. The health of the men, especially of 
those in the front lines, began to suffer from overwork, con- 
stant watching and exposure to the scalding sun while lying 
in the trenches, as well as from the scantiness of the supply 
of water, want of vegetable rations, insufficient cooking of 
their food for the cooking was necessarily of the rudest 
and from the contamination of the air by the numbers of 
unburied bodies of dead men and animals between and 
behind the lines. Under these circumstances, for ten days, 
the Vermont brigade held the front trenches at two im- 
portant points, the regiments relieving each other, but the 
brigade as a whole having no relief. During all this time 
hostilities were in progress except for an hour or two on the 
7th, when a flag of truce brought a brief respite. During 
this period the brigade lost 48 men killed and wounded by 
the enemy's pickets and sharpshooters, each regiment having 
its share of the loss. Among the killed was the gallant 
young major of the Sixth, Major Crandall, who was shot in 
the abdomen by a sharpshooter, on the 7th, and died in a 
few hours. 

Preparations were now in progress for the next import- 
ant movement of the Army of the Potomac, which was to 
pass to the south side of the James Kiver and to secure a 
position where it could at once threaten the Confederate 
apital and intercept its main lines of communication and 
supply from the south. This plan involved a withdrawal 
from lines in the closest contact with those of the enemy, a 
march of fifty-five miles across the Peninsula, and the cross- 
ing of a large river. Its first result was expected to be the 
seizure of Petersburg, which was only an outlying defence of 
Richmond, though twenty miles distant from it. All of these 
operations but the seizure of Petersburg were executed by 
Lieut. General Grant with consummate skill and absolute 
success. The attempt to occupy Petersburg by a coup de 


main failed, and its reduction was only effected by ten months 
of siege. 

The Army of the Potomac started for the James River, 
on the night of June 12th, General Warren with the Fifth 
corps covering the movement by a feint against Richmond 
from the left, while General Smith withdrew his command 
to White House, and proceeded thence by water around to 
and up the James to the neck of land named from the village 
of Bermuda Hundred, ten miles north of Petersburg, which 
General Butler had been holding for a month with a force 
of twelve thousand men. 

The Yermont brigade was concentrated on the night of 
the llth, and started with the Sixth corps on the night of the 
12th, leaving the Fourth regiment on picket, in a new line of 
rifle-pits, thrown up for the purpose in the rear of Cold 
Harbor. The army moved by several roads. The march of 
the Sixth corps, which followed the road taken by the Ninth 
corps, began in earnest about midnight. In the morning 
there was a short halt, for breakfast, near Despatch Station ; 
and then the long column moved on steadily all day in a cloud 
of stifling dust, outmarching the Ninth corps and passing 
down along the Chickahominy, till at sunset it turned to the 
south and crossed the river at Jones's Bridge, twenty-three 
miles by the road from Cold Harbor. Moving on, it halted 
and bivouacked a mile south of the Chickahominy. Starting 
at daylight next morning, and marching through a region 
whose comfortable farm houses and fine residences were in 
strong contrast with the desolations around Richmond, the 
corps descended during the forenoon from the high lands to 
the undulating plain which skirts the James. Here fields of 
tasselled corn and grain already yellow, varied the green of 
the meadows ; and old mansions, surrounded by noble groves, 
showed how much of ease and wealth had prevailed before 
the war. The corps halted a little before noon near the 
almost deserted village of Charles City Court House, a mile 


or two from the residence of the late ex-President John 
Tyler, now abandoned and stripped of everything the 
soldiers considered worth taking. 

On the morning of the 15th, the corps moved to the river 
at Wilcox's Landing, where it lay for two days guarding the 
bridge-head, while the other corps were passing. 

In the evening of the 16th, the first and third divisions 
of the corps were ferried over in steamboats, while the 
second division marched over the ponton bridge, two 
thousand feet long the longest ever laid over such a cur- 
rent which swayed and tossed with the river's tide, but held 
fast till it had borne across the larger part of the army and 
its train of wagons and artillery ambulances, which poured 
over it in a continuous stream, fifty miles long. 


On the 15th of June, General Smith was hurried forward 
with the Eighteenth corps, which had debarked at Bermuda 
Hundred the night before, to Petersburg. He reached the 
defences of the city before noon, and before dark had carried 
a mile and a half of tho outer intrenchments, including seven 
redoubts, and had taken 300 prisoners and 16 guns. In the 
assault on the works, Stannard's brigade led the advance of 
Martindale's division and lost over 300 men, killed and 
wounded. That General Smith did not follow up this advance, 
force his way into Petersburg and seize the bridges across the 
Appomattox that night, has been called " the mistake of the 
campaign;" and it was perhaps the greatest mistake of 
General Smith's military career. 1 By nine o'clock the troops 

1 "General Smith gives, in his report, the following reasons for his 
hesitation : "We had broken through the strong line of rebel works ; but 
heavy darkness was upon us, and I had heard some hours before that Lee's 
army was rapidly crossing at Drury's Bluff. I deemed it wiser to hold 
what we had, than by attempting to reach the bridges to lose what we had 


of Lee's army began to arrive, to reinforce the two brigades 
of Confederate troops and the militia, less than 4,000 all told, 
which, under General Beauregard, had hitherto partially 
manned the works ; and a new line of intrenchments, thrown 
up during the night in the rear of the captured redans, next 
morning faced the assailants. Smith had been also reinforced 
by Hancock's corps. Each commander now hurried to the 
spot all available troops, and within two days the armies of 
the Potomac and of Northern Virginia again faced each other, 
on the lines of Petersburg. 

On the 16th, the Second corps, with two brigades of 
Brooks's division of the Eighteenth, carried three more re- 
doubts, and at daylight on the 17th, General Potter's division 
of the Ninth corps carried about a mile of works, on the ridge 
of the Shand House, east of the city, taking four guns and 
600 prisoners. 

The second division of the Sixth corps, temporarily 
detached from the rest of the corps, which had been sent in 
transports up to Bermuda Hundred, marched all night 
towards Petersburg, after crossing the James, and on reach- 
ing the lines next day, the 17th, was posted in some captured 
works on the right of the line, relieving General Brooks's 
troops, which had carried and occupied Kedan No. 4, the 
evening previous. 

A picket line of the Second regiment and part of the 
Fifth, was thrown out by General Grant, and the rest of the 
Yermont troops lay on their arms for the night. Daring the 
night General Beauregard withdrew his forces from a large 
portion of his front line, to a stronger and shorter line, from 
five hundred to a thousand yards nearer the city. The next 
afternoon a general assault by all the corps of the army was 
ordered by General Meade. While by this, some ground was 

gained, and have the troops meet with a disaster." General Smith's cau- 
tion has been commended by some ; but it cost him the fame of a brilliant 
achievement, and the army many weeks and months of labor and fighting. 


gained, its main result was to develop the fact that Peters* 
burg was now garrisoned in full force, and that the Confeder- 
ate position was too strong to be carried by direct assault. 
This information was gained at heavy cost of life and blood. 
The Union losses of the three days exceeded 7,UOO killed and 
wounded, the larger part being sustained on the 18th. In 
this assault, somewhat to their surprise, tha Vermonters were 
not ordered to take part, and enjoyed the rather rare oppor- 
tunity of seeing others do the fighting.'" On the 20th the 
brigade, lessened by the departure of 220 officers and men 
of the Second regiment, whose time, had expired, was in the 
front line all day, in full sight of the spires of Petersburg, 
two miles away, and at times under artillery fire from the 
front and from Confederate batteries on the right across the 
river ; only one Vermonter, however, was killed and but three 
or four wounded. 


The Union assaults had thus far been directed against 
the lines on the east and southeast of Petersburg. Relin- 
quishing his efforts to carry these, Lieut. General Grant 
now intrenched his position in front of them, and began ex- 
tending his lines to envelop Petersburg on the south and 
cut the railroads entering the city from the south and south- 
west, which were the main arteries of communication and 
supply between the Confederate capital and the Southern 

Among the movements to this end the Sixth corps was, 
on the evening of the 21st, relieved by the Eighteenth corps, 

1 " Here near by us, is the Vermont brigade, General L. A. Grant, in 
reserve. An officer near me remarks that it is the first time he ever knew 
that brigade to be in reserve." Army Correspondent of the N. Y. Tribune. 

This was the first Battle of Petersburg, included in Adjutant General 
Washburn's official lists of battles in which the regiments of the First 
Vermont brigade took part. 


and, moving at midnight, marched round to the west, halt- 
ing during the forenoon of the next day near the Williams 
House, beyond the Jerusalem Plank Boad, to which road the 
Union lines had already been extended. General Wright's- 
orders were to move on the next day some two miles, to the 
Weldon railroad, running south from Petersburg, seize it and 
intrench his position, while the Second corps, under General 
Birney General Hancock being temporarily disabled by an 
outbreak of his Gettysburg wound which had been also 
moved to the left, was to support the movement and keep up 
the connection between the Sixth corps and the rest of the 
army. Such connection, however, was not maintained, and 
during the afternoon, General A. P. Hill, who had been sent 
out by General Lee to protect the Weldon road, taking ad- 
vantage of a wide gap left between the right of the Sixth 
corps and the left of the Second, pushed through it sud- 
denly, took the line of the Second corps in reverse, captured 
with small opposition most of a brigade, and went back to- 
his intrenchments, taking with him 1,600 prisoners, and 
leaving a force to guard the railroad. 

In the operations of this day, the two corps commanders ,. 
moving largely irrespective of each other, had been ordered 
to take especial precautions to ensure the safety of their ex- 
posed flanks, and General Wright committed to the Yer- 
monters the duty of guarding the left flank of the Sixth 
corps. While the mass of the corps moved forward in line 
of battle, the Vermont brigade marched by the flank on the 
left and rear of the corps line, and was thus in position to 
repel any attack on the flank of the corps. The movements 
were slow, through the thickets, and halts frequent ; and, with 
his customary caution, General L. A. Grant kept the exposed 
side of the brigade well covered by a skirmish line, consisting 
of the Third regiment and Walker's battalion of the Eleventh. 
Had General Birney used equal care for the protection of his 



flank, the mortifying reverse of this day, already referred to, 
would not have occurred. 

The brigade was sent to the assistance of the Second 
corps during the assault on the flank and rear of the latter in 
the afternoon ; but as General Birney had fallen back, it was 
not needed and was recalled to its former position near the 
Williams house. Dispositions were at once made to retrieve 
the disaster to the Second corps. At dusk that corps was 
again thrown forward; and General Wright also advanced, 
driving in a skirmish line of the enemy for a mile through 
thick brush, the Vermont brigade still guarding the left flank 
of the corps, as before. It was nearly midnight when the 
Sixth corps was halted, about a mile from the Weldon road. 
In this movement, the picket line, composed of the Third and 
a battalion of the Eleventh, was strengthened by the Fourth 
regiment. The night passed quietly on that portion of the 
lines, and in the morning no enemy was visible in front. 

This day, June 23d, was a very dark day in the calendar 
of the brigade, being marked by the heaviest capture of its 
members that ever occurred in its entire history. The men 
were roused before daylight in expectation of an attack or 
an advance ; but no movement took place except to perfect 
the dispositions of the troops which had been posted in the 
darkness of the previous night. During the forenoon, Cap- 
tain Beattie, of the Third Vermont, was sent out with a 
company of 90 picked men to reconnoitre in front. He 
reached the Weldon railroad, unopposed, and sent back word 
that he had found the road unguarded and cut the telegraph 
line, and with his report he sent a piece of the telegraph wire 
to prove his word. A working party of pioneers was there- 
upon sent out with tools to tear up and destroy the track. 
To protect them and give warning of any approach of the 
enemy, General Grant was ordered to send out a picket 
detail of 200 men. These were taken from Major Fleming's 
battalion of the Eleventh regiment, the detail being under 


command of Captain E. J. Morrill, and they reported to Lieut. 
Colonel S. E. Pingree, field officer of the day, by whom they 
were posted, according to instructions, in a line extending 
from the right of tne skirmish line of the division, and at 
a right angle with that line, out to the railroad. Captain 
Beattie with his company picketed a line along the rail- 
road ; and 200 cavalry men were deployed at a right angle 
with these on the left, thus enclosing with the pickets a 
hollow square, extending half a mile along the railroad, and 
back from it to the division skirmish line. The area thus 
enclosed was mainly open ground, with two or three farm 
buildings nearly in the centre of it. On each side was timber, 
that on the north, toward Petersburg, being a dense forest, 
extending from the railroad back a mile or more, to the front 
of Bickett's division, and that on the south a narrow strip 
of woods. The right of the main line of the Vermont brigade 
joined the left of Bicketts's division, turning at an obtuse 
angle ; and the line was extended to the left of the brigade 
by other troops of the second division. 

General L. A. Grant was now called on by General 
Wheaton, commanding the division, to furnish another detail 
to support the skirmish line, and Major Fleming was sent out 
with the remainder of his battalion, to which Company A. 
of the Eleventh was added. The detachment was stationed 
by an officer of General Wheaton's staff, about half a mile or 
more in front of the brigade, at the left of the open ground. 

In front of the line of the Yermont brigade was a swell 
of ground, the low crest of which commanded the entire open 
area. A line of infantry along it could have swept half of 
the open ground in front with musketry. A battery posted 
on it, could have shelled the whole area, as well as the strip 
of timber on the left, which was so narrow that persons on 
the crest could see over and through it. The advantage of 
occupying this crest was so obvious to General L. A. Grant 
that after waiting sometime for an advance of the lines to it, 


which he supposed would be ordered, he took the respon- 
sibility, when the operations commenced in front, of moving 
forward the line of his brigade to it ; 1 requesting the com- 
manders of the brigades on his right and left, to swing out 
and connect with him. The one on the right did not do so t 
however, and General Grant was soon ordered to bring back 
his brigade to its former line. General Grant then went 
in person to General Wheaton and asked him to advance 
the division line, so that the crest might be occupied.* 
Eeceiving no satisfactory response, Grant next went to the 
corps commander, and at the former's earnest request General 
Wright rode with him to the top of the crest to inspect the 
situation. Some lively skirmishing was then in progress in 
front and to the left, and a force of the enemy was plainly 
visible, coming from the direction of the railroad, around 
outside the strip of woods, and apparently aiming for the left 
and rear of the Vermont detachments on the skirmish line. 
General Wright decided that it was now too late to advance 
the main line to the crest, and to Grant's expressions of con- 
cern for the safety of his men in front General Wright replied 
that if attacked they could fall back into the woods on their 
right, behind Kicketts's picket line, which General Wright 
supposed to be advanced nearly to the railroad. This, how- 
ever, was a mistake on the part of General Wright. Ricketts's 
pickets afforded no adequate protection against an attack 
from that quarter, though the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania, 
of his division, which had been sent out as an additional 
guard to the pioneers, made a fight at the right, and lost 
83 men killed, wounded and captured. Beyond advancing 
the skirmishers of the Fourth Yermont to cover Fleming's 
left, which was ordered when it was plain that the latter 

1 That is of the portion of the brigade left in line, full half of the brigade 
being out on picket, and in support of the skirmishers in front. 

8 Statement of General L. A. Grant. 


was in danger, little was done by the division and corps 
commanders for the protection of the detachments in front ; 
and this advance of the Fourth, as it proved, was simply 
sending it to be captured with the rest. 

The working party, before this, had torn up half a mile 
of track, extending south from where they struck it, when, 
about the middle of the afternoon, they became aware of the 
approach of a considerable force of the enemy, which had 
been sent out west of the railroad from the right of his lines 
around Petersburg. The pioneers, with Captain Beattie's 
sharpshooters who had moved to the left with them, and the 
cavalry pickets, accordingly fell back to the left and rear, 
and rejoined the corps without serious loss. The skirmishers 
under Captain Morrill, on the right of the open ground, 
maintained their position, expecting the enemy to attack, if at 
all, from that direction. The Confederate troops approaching 
from that quarter divided, a portion of them making a 
demonstration in front, while the larger part pushed into 
the woods on Fleming's right. He prepared to receive the 
attack from his front by hastily piling a low breastwork 
of rails. On his left the Fourth Term on t, as has been 
stated, was deployed as skirmishers, its line extending 
through a piece of woods to the narrow belt of timber, hereto- 
fore described. Bursting suddenly through this, the enemy 
came in on the left of the Fourth, swinging round into the 
latter's rear as they advanced into the open field, and en- 
veloping the line. Captain Tracy of the Fourth, one of the 
most gallant young officers in the brigade, commanded the 
left company, and rallied his men for a brief fight ; but he 
soon fell dead, and after about a dozen men of the Fourth 
had been shot down, most of the rest, seeing resistance and 
flight were alike hopeless, threw down their arms. About 
fifty men, however, of the Fourth, including the color-guard, 
escaped through the woods, before the enemy's lines met 


behind them ; and made good their retreat to the main line, 
taking the colors with them. 

Seeing his danger, Major Fleming now endeavored to 
withdraw the skirmishers and picket reserve of his battalion 
to his right and rear ; but found the woods there full of 
rebels, who at once pushed out a strong line behind the 
Vermonters, till it met the other Confederate line. The men 
of the Eleventh were thus in turn completely cut off. They 
made a brief fight against vastly superior numbers and then 
surrendered. Two field officers, Majors Pratt and Fleming, 
and 24 commissioned officers eight of the Fourth and six- 
teen of the Eleventh gave up their swords, and 373 men 
of the two regiments were captured. 1 About the time that 
this occurred in front or shortly after, a considerable force 
of the enemy advanced on the left till it struck the skirmish 
line of the corps, on its extreme left flank, there refused so 
that it faced to the south. The skirmish line at this point 
was held by Major Walker's battalion of the Eleventh, two 
companies being deployed in front and the rest of the bat- 
talion held as picket reserve. The skirmishers repulsed two 
charges, from under cover of piles of rails, when the enemy 
pushed in on their left, through an opening left by the fault 
of the division officer of the day in charge of the skirmishers 
on the left, 2 who had failed to make the right of his portion 
of the line connect with that held by the Yermonters. The 
latter consequently were obliged to fall back in haste, and 
lost an officer, Lieutenant Sherman, killed ; two officers, 
Lieutenants Chase and Parker, captured, and a dozen or 
twenty men, killed, wounded and missing. The skirmish line 

1 The companies of the Eleventh so captured were A., F. , H., K. and 
L. The men captured averaged over 50 to a company. Enough escaped, 
with those in hospital or excused from duty or detailed as cooks and, 
orderlies, to leave about 40 men to a company for further service. 

2 A Pennsylvania officer. 


was soon re-established, however, and the enemy withdrew 
from that portion of the front of the corps. 

While Pratt and Fleming were making their short and 
hopeless fight in front, the rest of the brigade were within 
plain hearing of the firing and of the " rebel yell " with which 
the enemy closed in on their comrades, but were not permitted 
to move to their support. Instead of advancing, spades were 
ordered up, and rifle-pits dug, to protect the corps front. 
At dusk the Second Vermont was sent out as skirmishers 
and met the skirmishers of the enemy in the edge of the 
woods about six hundred yards in front. The latter retired, 
and hostilities having ceased for the night, the regimental 
and brigade officers counted up their losses, with heavy 
hearts. At midnight the brigade was withdrawn to its former 
position near the Williams house. It is easier to ask ques- 
tions about such an affair as this, than to get satisfactory 
answers to them ; and the officers and men of the brigade 
have never understood why the swell of ground in their front 
was not occupied by artillery and infantry ; why the Vermont 
detachments were not withdrawn after the sharpshooters and 
pioneers left the railroad; or why if needed in front they 
were not supported, instead of being sacrificed without 
object or gain to anybody but the enemy. It is safe to say 
that if General Getty had been in command of his division 
this melancholy affair would not have happened. Whoever 
was chiefly responsible for it, no share of the blame can be 
justly laid at the door of any Vermonter. General L. A. 
Grant had no control of the detachments in front'. They were 
sent out and posted under orders and by aids from the divi- 
sion head-quarters. He was anxious about them ; and if his 
suggestions and earnest requests had been regarded, they 
would not have been surprised and surrounded. Lieut. 
Colonel Pingree, as division officer of the day, had a very long 
and difficult picket line to superintend, and obeyed the orders 
given him with all possible fidelity. He of course had 


nothing to do with the pickets of Eickett's division, and was 
not responsible for the arrangement which permitted the 
enemy to fill the woods on the right and cut off the 
retreat of the Vermonters. To his " coolness, bravery, and 
almost superhuman efforts " his brigade commander alludes, 
in his report, in terms of very high praise. Majors Pratt and 
Fleming obeyed their orders and fought as long as resistance 
was of any use. 

The aggregate loss of the brigade in this affair of the 
Weldon Road was 459, as follows : 

Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total. 

Second Vermont Regiment, 0101 

Third " " 1 1 02 

Fourth " " 3 11 139 153 

Fifth " " 11 

Sixth " 1 1 

Eleventh " " 9 31 261 301 

Totals, 13 45 401 459 

Of the wounded men three of the Fourth and 11 of the 
Eleventh died of their wounds. A sad sequel must be added 
to this disastrous episode. Of the 401 men thus captured, 
over one half died within six months after their capture, a 
few in Confederate hospitals, but most of them in the prison 
pens of Andersonville and Columbia, S. C. The names of 
two hundred and thirty -two Vermonters, most of them strong 
and vigorous men when taken that day, who thus died by a 
lingering death in the hands of the enemy, are elsewhere 
given in the pages of this history. A number who lived to 
be exchanged, came home mere wrecks of men and died soon 
after, and it is probably no exaggeration to say that 70 per 
cent of the men so captured died in prison or from the results 
of their captivity. The officers as a rule fared better. 
Several escaped. One, Captain Morrill, of the Eleventh, was 
fired on while attempting to escape from his captors, and 
died of his wounds so received. Another, Lieutenant Parker 



of the same regiment, escaped from prison, to die by the 
teeth of southern blood-hounds, set upon him by his pur- 
suers. Of the rest, some were placed under the fire of the 
Union guns, at Charleston, S. C. Some came home in sadly 
shattered health. 

The southerners have been more sensitive to the charge 
of inhuman treatment of their prisoners, than to any other 
brought against them, and southern writers and statesmen 
have written many pages and uttered many words to refute 
it; but no statements or sophistries can wipe out or gloss 
over the stain of such facts as these. 

The brigade remained in the works near the "Williams 
house, for two weeks, with the exception of a single short 
expedition. At noon of the 29th, General Meade learned 
that General Wilson, who with a column of 5,500 cavalry ' 
had been out for ten da} r s on a raid against the Danville and 
Lynchburgh Railroad, sixty miles of which he had destroyed, 
was on his way back and had been intercepted at Eeams's 
Station, ten miles south of Petersburg, by a strong force of 
Confederate cavalry and infantry. The Sixth corps was 
accordingly drawn out of the lines and sent to Eeams's 
Station to open a passage for Wilson. The brigade started 
at two o'clock of the 29th, leading the advance of the corps. 
Arriving within half a mile of the station at six o'clock, the 
Third Vermont was deployed as skirmishers, and engaged 
and drove from the field the skirmish line of the enemy, 
which was covering the retirement of the Confederate 
infantry, consisting of two brigades of Mahone's division. 
During the forenoon Wilson had been surrounded at that 
point by W. F. Lee's and Wade Hampton's cavalry and 
Mahone's infantry, and after a disastrous fight in which he 
suffered heavy loss of men and guns, had retreated to the 
south. The enemy, having made Wilson all the trouble they 

1 Of which the First Vermont Cavalry was a part. 


could, did not stop to see the Sixth corps, and beyond the 
slight skirmish referred to there was no fighting done by 
the corps. The Vermont brigade bivouacked at Eeams's 
Station that night, tore up a good piece of the railroad the 
next day, and then returned with the corps to the lines in 
front of Petersburg. "Wilson made a detour to the south and 
east, and came in two days later. 

The Vermont brigade was now about to leave the Army 
of the Potomac for the first time, and to enter on a campaign 
of peculiar interest and importance. It was first to aid in 
.repulsing the last rebel demonstration against Washington ; 
and then, for four months, to march and fight and conquer 
under a new commander. On many bloody fields it had 
made a reputation for tenacity and reliability in emergencies, 
second certainly to that of no other brigade in the army. It 
was now, under Sheridan, to do some hardly less severe 
iighting, and in addition was to enjoy, with the consciousness 
of duty done, the unwonted experience of sharing in distinct 
and memorable victories. 


While tne Army of the Potomac was, in the campaign 
whose fortunes we have been following, making its last march 
from the Kapidan to Kichmond, the Shenandoah Valley had 
become a field of fresh interest. General Hunter had relieved 
the unlucky Sigel; had defeated the Confederate General 
Vaughn, and had advanced to Lynchburg, to find himself con- 
fronted there by General Early, who had come with his corps 
to guard that chief city of Western Virginia and important 
centre and supply station for the Confederacy. Outnumbered, 
and short both of ammunition and supplies, Hunter had 
then withdrawn into the Kanawha Valley, leaving the Shenan- 
doah Valley open to Early. The latter made use of his 
opportunity to push rapidly northward into Maryland through 


the passage thus opened, and to threaten the National capital,, 
which he hoped to find but slightly defended! Of course, 
there was no little trepidation in Washington, when Early's 
plan became developed, and troops were hurried thither from 
various quarters ; but as many of these were green troops^ 
and a strong nucleus of veterans, under a capable and trusty 
commander, was needed to allay apprehension and perhaps 
to assure the safety of the capital, General Grant, at Presi- 
dent Lincoln's request, withdrew the Sixth, corps from the 
lines before Petersburg, and sent it to Washington. Ricketts's. 
division, which formed nearly half of the corps, having lost 
much fewer men in action than the others, was despatched 
by transports to Baltimore, and reported on the 8th of July, 
to General Lew Wallace, commanding the department. The 
latter, with three or four thousand undisciplined troops, had 
moved out from Baltimore and thrown himself between Early 
and Washington, at the point, five miles south of Frederick, 
Md., where the Baltimore and Ohio railroad crosses the 
Monocacy River. Here, on the 9th of July, the battle of the 
Monocacy was fought, in which General Wallace was attacked 
and defeated by Early, General Eicketts severely wounded, 
and 1,500 men of his division killed, wounded and captured. 
This battle, to be hereafter described in connection with 
the history of the Tenth Vermont regiment, delayed Early's 
advance on Washington for two days, which was just the 
time needed to get the rest of the corps there. The order 
for them to move came late in the evening of the 9th, and 
within two hours they were on the way to City Point. The 
long drought of that summer, which lasted forty-seven days 
from the 3d of June, had set in, and the roads were beds of 
dust, ankle deep ; but the march was accomplished at a rapid 
rate, the fourteen miles being made between midnight and 
six A. M., and with much less discomfort under the stars than 
it would have been under the July sun. Next day, under the 
superintendence of Colonel and A. Q. M. P. P. Pitkin, now 


in charge of the land and water transportation of the Army 
of the Potomac, the two divisions took transports for Wash- 
ington, and by noon the brigade, with the exception of the 
Eleventh regiment, which did not embark till five p. M., was 
steaming down the James. The voyage down the river and 
up the Potomac, past Harrison's Landing, Newport News, 
Fortress Monroe, Belle Plain and Acquia Creek, and other 
familiar points, was a rest and relief to the men, who were 
weary of digging and living in rifle-pits ; and they entered 
on their third campaign in Maryland in excellent condition 
of mind and body. Before entering on the record of the. 
campaign it will be well to note some of the recent changes 
in the personnel of the brigade. 

The older regiments of the brigade now averaged less 
than 400 muskets apiece, present for duty, and the Eleventh 
about 950. The vacancies in the roster of officers made by 
the slaughter in the Wilderness, had been partially filled by 
promotions. The Second regiment was now commanded 
by Lieut. Colonel A. S. Tracy ; the Third, by Colonel T. O. 
Seaver; the Fourth, by Colonel George P. Foster; the Fifth, 
by Captain Eugene A. Hamilton, Lieut. Colonel Lewis 
being still disabled and no field officers having been ap- 
pointed to take the place of those lost ; the Sixth, by Lieut. 
Colonel O. A. Hale ; and the Eleventh, by Lieut. Colonel 
George E. Chamberlain, Colonel Warner being on duty in 
the defences of Washington. The two battalions of the 
Eleventh the uncaptured fractions of Major Fleming's bat- 
talion having been consolidated with the other two bat- 
talions were commanded by Major Charles Hunsdon and 
Major Aldace F. Walker. 

The brigade, reporting present for duty 2,600 officers 
and men, was still commanded by General L. A. Grant; 
and General Getty, having recovered sufficiently from his 
wound to take the field, was again in command of the 
division, much to the satisfaction of the troops thereof. 


General Getty and his staff preceded the division in a 
small steamer, and were the first of the corps to land at 
Washington. It was an anxious time in Washington, and 
President Lincoln, looking pale and careworn, and Secretary 
Stanton, were standing on the wharf as they landed. " What 
troops does this steamer bring ?" asked Mr. Lincoln, of one 
of the first men who stepped on shore, who happened to be 
Surgeon Allen of the Fourth Vermont, at that time medical 
director of the division. "It brings Major General Getty and 
his staff, but no troops," was his reply. The careworn 
president turned away with evident disappointment, saying: 
"I do not care to see any major generals : I came here to see 
the Vermont brigade" l 

The two divisions reached Washington during the even- 
ing of the llth, and landed next morning. Mr Lincoln was 
again on hand to witness the disembarkation, breaking his 
fast meanwhile on a piece of hard tack, which he had begged 
from a soldier, and evidently much relieved by the arrival of 
the corps. All Washington, save the few sympathizers with 
the rebellion, shared this feeling. Early, who marched 
straight for Washington, after the battle of the Monocacy^ 
was then but five miles from the capitol and in plain sight of 
its dome, and the sound of his cannon, in his reconnoissances 
and skirmishing in front of the forts during the day previous, 
had filled the citizens with the utmost consternation. His 
numbers, at first underestimated, were now greatly exag- 
gerated ; and it was believed in the city that his army num- 
bered 30,000 or 40,000 men. The defences north of the 
city had been hurriedly manned with a few regiments of 
hundred-day troops, called out by the President for the 
emergency, together with a few companies of heavy artillery, 
some detachments from the invalid corps, and a battalion or 
two of government clerks and laborers, hastily organized and 

1 Statement of Surgeon S. J. Allen. 


armed for the occasion. Little reliance, however, was placed 
upon them, and till the Sixth corps arrived the city was in a 
state of mind little short of absolute panic. As the column 
of bronzed and sturdy veterans marched up Seventh Street,, 
with the easy swing of old campaigners, they had no reason 
to doubt that they were welcome. The sidewalks were 
thronged with people, who as their eyes fell on the Greek 
cross, shouted : "It is the old Sixth corps!" "Hurrah for the 
men who stormed Marye's Heights!" "We are all right 
now!" Some ran along the lines with buckets of ice water, 
for the morning was sultry, while others handed newspapers 
and eatables into the column. The color came back to the 
white lips which had been whispering: "The foe! they 
come!" and confidence that the danger was already over 
replaced the terror of the day and night previous. 

The corps had reached Washington not an hour too soon. 
It moved out on the Eockville pike, to the sound of the 
cannon of Early, who had, as he says in his "Memoir," 
determined to attack the defences of Washington that morn- 
ing and was then examining the works in preparation for the 
assault. He had halted the afternoon previous in front of 
Fort Stevens a strong bastioned work on the Seventh Street 
pike with 10,000 or 12,000 men and fifty guns. His men, 
he says, were tired with hard marching, and he took time 
to reconnoitre. His skirmish line, composed of troops of 
Eode's division, was about 500 yards from the fort, and his 
sharpshooters filled the Eives house and the house of Mrs. 
Lay, on the right and left of the turnpike leading to Silver 
Spring and Eockville. A portion of Wheaton's brigade, 
which was the first to reach the ground, was deployed as 
skirmishers in front of the works. On the arrival of the 
Vermont brigade, the Second and Third regiments were 
posted in rifle-pits to the left of the fort, and the rest of the 
brigade, with other portions of the corps, were massed in a 
piece of woods west of Fort Stevens. The fort, and two or 


three others near it, had been built in good part by the 
Eleventh Vermont, and having been stationed for over a 
year in them, as an artillery regiment, its officers and men 
were familiar with the range of every gun and would have 
been glad to show the raw troops how to use the artillery they 
were awkwardly handling ; but the Yermonters were held to 
take part in the general assault which was contemplated by 
the generals, half a dozen or more of whpm, including 
General Halleck, General McCook, General Meigs, General 
Wright and the division commanders, were on the ground. 
Before attacking, however, General Wright thought best to 
send out a brigade, to develop Early's position and relieve 
the Union line from the enemy's sharpshooters, whose bullets 
were flying altogether too thickly around the forts. While 
arrangements for this advance were in progress, a company 
of 80 men, selected for their skill as marksmen, was sent out 
under command of Captain A. M. Beattie, of the Third Ver- 
mont, to the skirmish line, to try conclusions with the 
enemy's sharpshooters. They soon found active employment, 
drove the rebels from a house with some loss, one Ver- 
monter being killed and half a dozen wounded in the opera- 
tion, and